Control of pit-lake water chemistry by secondary minerals, Summer Camp pit, Getchell mine, Nevada

Author(s): 
Rob Bowell, Jeff Parshley
Date: 
Tuesday, June 1, 2004
First presented: 
Chemical Geology
Type: 
Published paper
Category: 
Environmental/Social
Water Management

At the Summer Camp pit of the Getchell mine in northern Nevada, the sulfate mineralogy is complex and includes gypsum, jarosite, pickeringite–halotrichite, copiapite, melanterite, langite, and bukovskyite that occur along with scorodite–mansfieldite and Ca–Cu–Zn arsenate minerals. Leaching of these minerals by meteoric water seasonally contributes As, Fe, Ca, trace metals, sulfate, and hydrogen ions to the lake. During the early stages of pit-lake refilling (1991–1993), this mechanism had an important control on water quality in the pit, although over time the effect has lessened as groundwater inflow has increased the lake volume and diminished the relative importance of wall rock leachate. The formation and reaction of secondary minerals around pit lakes in net evaporative environments are both a source and sink for metals.

Feature Author

Jeff Parshley

Jeff Parshley has more than 30 years of project experience throughout North America, Latin America, Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa, which includes mine permitting, environmental audits, feasibility and due diligence studies, mine closure design and permitting, liability assessments, reclamation and closure cost estimating, pit lake studies, mine waste studies and environmental geology. He has considerable experience in the permitting and closure of gold heap leach operations in the western U.S. and has lectured in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Australia and Africa on mine closure planning and design. He regularly heads multi-disciplinary teams on projects ranging from environmental liability assessments to permitting to mine closure. He is currently carrying out a number of mine permitting, remediation and environmental geochemistry projects, a large underground mine expansion and several permanent mine closures.

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