TITLE

Pyrite Weathering in Reclaimed Shale Overburden at an Oil Sands Mine near Fort McMurray, Canada

AUTHOR(S)
Appels, Willemijn; Wall, Susan; Barbour, S.; Hendry, M.; Nichol, Craig; Chowdhury, Saidur
PUB. DATE
November 2017
SOURCE
Mine Water & the Environment;Nov2017, Vol. 36 Issue 4, p479
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Saline-sodic shale overburden associated with oil sand mining is a potential source of salt release to surface water and groundwater and can lead to salinization and/or sodification of reclamation covers. Weathering of shale overburden due to oxidation of sulphide minerals within the shale leads to sulphate (SO ) production and increased salinity. The controls on the rates of weathering of a shale overburden dump in the oil sands region of northern Alberta were determined from soil chemistry sampling and in situ monitoring of pore gases (O, CO, CH) in three shallow profiles (1.9-4.45 m deep) and one deep (25 m deep) profile under reclamation covers of varying thickness. Oxidation, defined by the depth over which O concentrations were depleted, reached depths of approximately 1.1 m under the reclamation soil covers over a 6 year period after dump placement. Calculations of SO production rates and weathering depths were consistent with numerical simulations of the diffusion and subsequent consumption of atmospheric O in the overburden. The rate of SO production during the 6 year weathering period estimated from direct measurements of solids chemistry ranged from 0.70 to 8.3 g m day. The rates calculated from the oxygen diffusion models were within that same range, between 1.6 and 4.1 g m day.
ACCESSION #
126260414

 

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