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Toxicity of tailing leachates from a niobium mine toward three aquatic organisms.

Paquet, Nathalie, Indiketi, Nishodi, Dalencourt, Claire, Larivière, Dominic, Roberge, Steeve, Gruyer, Nicolas, Triffault-Bouchet, Gaëlle et Fortin, Claude ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2479-1869 (2019). Toxicity of tailing leachates from a niobium mine toward three aquatic organisms. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety , vol. 176 . p. 355-363. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.03.065.

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Résumé

The aim of this research was to assess the ecotoxicity of leachates originating from a niobium mine located in Canada. These tailings contain considerable amounts of carbonates and phosphates and could potentially be used as fertilizer for agriculture. However, the presence of different contaminants linked with the ores mined, including rare earth elements and daughter elements of the uranium disintegration chain is of concern. Bioassays have been used to determine if the tailings leachates could be harmful. The assessment of the toxicity of progressive dilutions of five tailing leachates (808, 809, 810, 811 and 897) was performed on different organisms: phytoplankton Raphidocelis subcapitata and duckweed Lemna minor, based on their growth and chlorophyll a content, and water flea Daphnia magna based on their mobility, mortality and reproduction. Overall, the leachates showed higher toxicity to Raphidocelis subcapitata and Lemna minor, than toward Daphnia magna. Leachate 808 showed no toxicity to all organisms while leachate 810 showed significant effects to all species. The results can be explained by the leachate dissolved metal or nutrient concentrations, but also by the metal bioavailability which depends on pH and hardness. Generally, toxicity was observed in undiluted samples tested, which is not representative of the conditions that could occur in the environment. This supports the idea that these tailings could be used as fertilizer albeit more studies may be required, particularly to assess the toxicity of the tailings leachate for benthic organisms, the toxicity of the tailings for terrestrial organisms and the variations of soil and sediment physicochemical properties after tailing treatments.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: metal; rare earth elements; radionuclides; Raphidocelis subcapitata; Daphnia magna; Lemna minor
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 16 mars 2021 15:00
Dernière modification: 08 févr. 2022 20:03
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/11436

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