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Type: Artigo de periódico
Title: Geochemical distribution of arsenic in waters, sediments and weathered gold mineralized rocks from Iron Quadrangle, Brazil
Author: Borba, RP
Figueiredo, BR
Matschullat, J
Abstract: The Iron Quadrangle has been the scenery of the most important gold production in Brazil. It is estimated that during the three centuries of gold mining in the Iron Quadrangle, at least 390,000 t of arsenic was discharged into the drainage system. This study presents geochemical data for the three river basins in the region, with focus on surface water and stream sediment monitoring. Samples of primary and oxidized sulfide ores as well as of tailings and groundwater from the major gold mines were also studied. The highest As concentrations in water and stream sediments occur in the vicinity of mining areas. In surface water, up to 300 mug As/l were found whereas the As contents in stream sediments were in the range of 20 to 4,000 mg/kg. The As3+/As5+, concentration ratios obtained for some water samples range from 1.10(-1) to 4.10(-2). The As mobility associated with ore-deposit weathering could be traced in some closed gold mines by observation of in-situ pyrite and arsenopyrite oxidation, precipitation of scorodite and gippsite, As adsorption onto goethite, and final liberation of As into underground and surface waters. This process is likely to produce large volumes of mine effluents containing total As and trivalent As up to 1,960 and 60 mug/l, respectively. River sediments and tailings pile samples were submitted to a leaching procedure showing maximal arsenic release from 1 to 4% of the original total As in the samples. There are potential risks for As hazards in some areas induced by, for instance, the dispersion of old tailings by flooding, occupation of poisoned soils for settlements, and occasional consumption of contaminated surface and groundwater.
Subject: arsenic
gold mining
Country: EUA
Editor: Springer-verlag
Citation: Environmental Geology. Springer-verlag, v. 44, n. 1, n. 39, n. 52, 2003.
Rights: fechado
Identifier DOI: 10.1007/s00254-002-0733-6
Date Issue: 2003
Appears in Collections:Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos

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