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Revista internacional de contaminación ambiental

versión impresa ISSN 0188-4999


RAMOS-GOMEZ, Magdalena et al. Metal mobilization in tailings originated from the mining district of Guanajuato, Mexico. Rev. Int. Contam. Ambient [online]. 2012, vol.28, n.1, pp. 49-59. ISSN 0188-4999.

Characterization of different tailings from the mining district of Guanajuato, México were carried out, including a tailing from an abandoned dam 20 years ago, a dam in operation and another coming from the mixture of different companies. The three tailings presented alkaline conditions, normal salinity, aerobic environment with oxidative tendency, low humidity, very low capacity of cationic exchange, and absence of organic matter. These conditions restrict the metal mobility. The mineralogical analysis showed that the tailings contained mainly quartz, calcite and magnetite. Tailings coming from the mixture of different companies had greater total concentrations (mg/kg) of Mn (1042.8), Al (12919.8), Fe (23911.3), Cr (71.3), Pb (24.6) and Cu (19.8). The highest concentration of Zn was observed at the abandoned tailing (53.3 mg/kg). No significant concentrations of Cd and Hg were observed, although Pb (24.6 mg/kg) and Cr (71.4 mg/kg) were detected. Leaching tests indicated that metals cannot be leached in percentages higher than 0.1%, and so these tailings do not represent an environmental risk. The low leaching of metals in the studied tailings was consistent with the mineralogical and physicochemical prevailing conditions, the low acid drainage generation potential and the high degree of stability observed in the tests of metals fractionation.

Palabras llave : tailings; tailings dam; metals; leaching potential; characterization; fractionation.

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