Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Sulfide Tails Management within the Framework of Sustainable Development in Mineral Sand Mines-The Case Study of Sierra Rutile Ltd

By Kallon, Senesie B.; Jabati, Ansu M. et al. | Journal of Environmental Health, January-February 2011 | Go to article overview

Sulfide Tails Management within the Framework of Sustainable Development in Mineral Sand Mines-The Case Study of Sierra Rutile Ltd


Kallon, Senesie B., Jabati, Ansu M., Samura, Alusine, Journal of Environmental Health


Introduction

Background

Mining contributes to the economic development of many countries in the world (Yilmaz, Kesimal, & Ercjkdi, 2004). Sierra Leone has exceptional geological reserves of mineral sand ore, principally rutile and ilmunite, and mining of the deposits offers significant prospects for generating the much-needed foreign exchange required to revitalize the country's economy. As good as their impact is on the economy, however, mining activities in general have also been a target of environmental criticism.

Mineral sand mining is associated with a variety of environmental and social problems that require sound management strategies to mitigate. This article focuses on the management of sulfide tails as one of the key environmental challenges in mineral sand mining operations. It assesses the impact that the management of sulfide tails resulting from the processing operations of the Sierra Rutile Ltd. (SRL), Sierra Leone's largest mineral processing operation, has on the quality of tailings effluent and the adjacent domestic water pond, from which the company and nearby communities source their domestic water needs. We also reviewed the challenges in sulfide tails management and environmental health risk analysis of sulfide tails management options.

Environmental Health Challenges Resulting from Sulfide Tails Management

Mine tailings containing metal sulfides could have serious environmental impacts if control strategies that prevent the oxidation of sulfide exposed to weathering conditions are not established. Natural oxidation of metal sulfides may generate acid rock drainage (ARD). Mine tailings that are affected by ARD processes are normally characterized by high concentrations of trace metals and sulfates ions in solution and by generally low pH values (pH = 2-4) (Mendez-Ortiz, Carillo-Chavez, & Monroy-Fernandez, 2007). Pyrite oxidizes to produce very acidic waters, which can solubilize heavy metals and other toxic elements and cause them to be transported downstream, eventually ending up in the water systems (Jenkins, Johnson, & Freeman, 2000; Pentreath, 1994). Although acid streams can occur naturally, most are a result of mining activities giving rise to acid mine drainage (Jenkins et al., 2000).

ARD solutions can potentially contaminate surface water and groundwater as well as soils. The extreme acidity is harmful to most aquatic life, and even after neutralization, the precipitates formed by it continue to affect aquatic organisms. Toxic elements, such as copper, cadmium, and zinc are often associated with acidic mine drainage (AMD), contributing substantially to its devastating ecological effects (Cotter & Brigden, 2006).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Environmental Health Risk Analysis of Sulfide Tails Management Options

Soil cover protection of sulfide tails can achieve an 80% reduction in sulfide oxidation with a single 1.0 m (3.3 ft.) till cover; reduction efficiency increases to 90% with 1.5 m (9.8 ft.) of till cover and to 99% reduction with advance multiple layer covers including an effective low-permeability cover (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency [SEPA], 2000). The major drawback to this method, however, is that at locations with greater depth to the groundwater table there is an obvious risk that the cover will be drained and the transport of oxygen will increase during long dry periods consequently increasing groundwater acidity (Mitigating the Environmental Impact of Mining, 2004).

To evaluate the effectiveness of oxygen-consuming barriers, Tremblay (1994) investigated a 2 m (6.6 ft.) cover of organic waste (85% bark, 10% pulp wood, and 5% sawdust) and reported a decrease in oxygen content with depth of the cover, increase in pH, and decreasing metal release in leachate from the covered areas. Some organic concentration of phenol and tanning, however, was reported that could pose another environmental health challenge.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sulfide Tails Management within the Framework of Sustainable Development in Mineral Sand Mines-The Case Study of Sierra Rutile Ltd
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.