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Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5211

Assessment of the Geoavailability of Trace Elements from Minerals in Mine Wastes: Analytical Techniques and Assessment of Selected Copper Minerals

By Rhonda Driscoll, Phillip L. Hageman, William M. Benzel, Sharon F. Diehl, David T. Adams, Suzette Morman, and LaDonna M. Choate

Thumbnail of and link to publicationAbstract

In this study, four randomly selected copper-bearing minerals were examined—azurite, malachite, bornite, and chalcopyrite. The objectives were to examine and enumerate the crystalline and chemical properties of each of the minerals, to determine which, if any, of the Cu-bearing minerals might adversely affect systems biota, and to provide a multi-procedure reference. Laboratory work included use of computational software for quantifying crystalline and amorphous material and optical and electron imaging instruments to model and project crystalline structures. Chemical weathering, human fluid, and enzyme simulation studies were also conducted. The analyses were conducted systematically: X-ray diffraction and microanalytical studies followed by a series of chemical, bio-leaching, and toxicity experiments.

First posted February 24, 2012

For additional information:
USGS Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Box 25046, Mail Stop 973
Denver, CO 80225
minerals.cr.usgs.gov

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Suggested citation:

Driscoll, Rhonda, Hageman, P.L., Benzel, W.M., Diehl, S.F., Adams, D.T., Morman, Suzette, and Choate, L.M., 2012, Assessment of the geoavailability of trace elements from minerals in mine wastes: analytical techniques and assessment of selected copper minerals: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5211, 68 p.



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Sample Preparation

Mineralogical Analyses

Bulk, Leachate, and Acid-Base Accounting Geochemical Study of Four Copper-Bearing Minerals

Summary of Leaching Studies

Acid-Base Accounting (ABA) Study

Leachate pH as an Indicator of Acid-Base Potential

In Vitro Bioaccessibility Extractions

Procedure for Determination of Metal Toxicity Using MetPLATE™

Conclusions

Selected References


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