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Behaviour of flotation tailings from a rare earth element deposit at high salinity.

Costis, Sophie, Coudert, Lucie, Mueller, Kristin K., Neculita, Carmen Mihaela et Blais, Jean-François ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3087-4318 (2021). Behaviour of flotation tailings from a rare earth element deposit at high salinity. Journal of Environmental Management , vol. 300 . p. 113773. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113773.

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Résumé

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Various rare earth element (REE) deposits hosted by carbonatite complexes have been identified in southern (Montviel, Niobec) and northern Quebec (Eldor deposit). During the winter in Quebec, the use of road salts to facilitate transportation on the mine site and/or avoid water freezing during mine operation may be necessary. The sources of salinity can be diverse on a mine site: process water, precipitation, alteration of minerals in the soil. Thus, tailings may come in contact with these salts and react. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of salinity on the behaviour of flotation tailings (Eldor deposit), i.e. the mobility of the elements contained in the tailings under these conditions and the environmental risks involved. For this purpose, leaching column tests were developed. The solutions were deionized water (CW column), NaCl (25 g/L; CS1 column) and CaCl2 (25 g/L; CS2 column). The leachate analysis revealed that the divalent cations (Ba, Cd, Mg, Mn, Sr, and Zn) are more mobile in the presence of CaCl2 (CaCl2 > NaCl > deionized water). The mobility of these elements appears to be governed by the competition with Ca2+ for tailings sorption sites. U and Sc are most mobile in the presence of salts regardless of the applied salt solution, i.e. CaCl2 = NaCl > deionized water. The formation of soluble chloride complexes with these elements could therefore be the cause of this phenomenon. For S, the leaching solution has no impact on its mobility. In conclusion, the presence of salts would tend to increase the mobility of divalent cations present in these residues and enhance their contamination potential. Modeling using PHREEQC software allowed comparison of these results with post-dismantling mineralogical characterization. Both methods showed: (i) total dissolution of fluorite [CaF2], galena [PbS], richterite [Na(CaNa(Mg,Fe2+)5[Si8O22](OH)] and Ba silicate; (ii) precipitation of iron oxides/hydroxides and silicate minerals. However, the modeling was unable to predict the behaviour of carbonate minerals. Further modeling tests involving kinetics should be considered in a future study.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: rare earth elements; kinetic test; flotation tailings; salinity; leaching
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 23 juin 2022 14:26
Dernière modification: 23 juin 2022 14:26
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/12706

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