Multiphase transfer processes in waste rock piles producing acid mine drainage. 2. Applications of numerical simulation

  • Lefebvre R
  • Hockley D
  • Smolensky J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Acid mine drainage (AMD) results from the oxidation of sulfides, mainly pyrite, present in mine wastes, either mill tailings or waste rock. This is the second of two papers describing the coupled physical processes taking place in waste rock piles undergoing AMD production. Since the oxidation of pyrite involves the consumption of oxygen and the production of heat, the oxidation process initiates coupled processes of gas transfer by diffusion and convection as well as heat transfer. These processes influence the supply of oxygen that is required to sustain the oxidation process. This second paper describes a numerical simulator used to represent the interaction of these coupled transfer processes. Numerical simulations are applied to two large sites with extensive characterization programs and widely different properties and behavior that were described in the first paper. The South Dump of the Doyon mine in Canada is permeable and has a high pyrite oxidation rate, thus making temperature-driven air convection the main oxygen supply mechanism. The Nordhalde of the Ronnenberg mining district in Germany contains lower permeability material which is less reactive, thus leading to a more balanced contribution of gaseous diffusion and convection as oxygen supply mechanisms. Overall, simulations allow a coherent representation of the conditions monitored within the waste rock piles and the confirmation of their physical properties. Conceptual simulations are also carried out to illustrate the potential effect of border membranes and layered co-mingling as mitigation methods used to control AMD production in either active or future waste rock piles. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acid mine drainage
  • Gas convection
  • Gaseous diffusion
  • Heat transfer
  • Numerical simulation
  • Pyrite

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Authors

  • René Lefebvre

  • Daryl Hockley

  • Jason Smolensky

  • Ann Lamontagne

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