Determining Acid and Metalliferous Drainage Potential of Waste Rock on a Mine
Acid and Metalliferous Drainage (AMD) is recognised as serious environmental problem in the mining industry. This is because environmental issue of AMD poses serious threat to water quality, vegetation cover and social licence of the mining operations. AMD occurs when reactive sulphide bearing materials are exposed to oxidising conditions. It has now become imperative for some mining companies to test sulphide bearing minerals for their AMD potential before major mining excavations are done. This work determines the AMD potential of fifty (50) waste rock samples from a Mine using Acid Base Accounting (ABA) techniques. Mineralogical studies on the sample indicated that the major sulphide mineral assemblages present were pyrite, arsenopyrite and chalcopyrite. Paste pH showed that 20% of the samples had undergone weathering and as such AMD generation had already started. Approximately 22% of the sample had conductivity levels between 1000 to 10,000 µS/cm and this shows a typical AMD chemical characteristic of high salinity. Acid Base Accounting showed that 32% of the samples were acid generating. Exactly 16% were non-acid forming and 52% were uncertain. The analysis showed that the potential for AMD generation exists for the waste rock material and can affect the local environment, specifically water quality if preventive measures are not taken.
Keywords: Sulphide, Waste Rock, Acid Base Accounting, Paste pH, Conductivity