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Use of sequential extraction to evaluate the heavy metals in mining wastes

Use of sequential extraction to evaluate the heavy metals in mining wastes

Water Air & Soil Pollution 50(3-4): 241-254

Lead-zinc mine tailings from the 'old lead-belt' in Missouri were chemically characterized using total chemical analysis and sequential extraction. These tailings have been considered as an inert and safe material for years. However, the level of heavy metals in these tailings were found elevated with Pb values as high as 5000 ppm. The sequential extraction results indicated that the Pb was primarily found in the residual fraction and probably is in the Pbs form. Some Pb was found in the oxide fraction. Cu, Zn, and Cd were found in several different fractions, but primarily in the residual fraction. Some Cu was found in the organic fraction. The Zn showed a wide variation between samples with high levels in the carbonate, oxide and residual fractions. Very little Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn was leached by water. The heavy metals in these tailings do appear to be in the more inert forms and should not be readily available to the environment unless there is an interaction of the tailings with acids, microorganisms or chelating materials. The breathing and ingestion of this material may provide such an environment for such interactions and these materials should still be considered dangerous and managed properly.

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Accession: 001997304

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1007/bf00280626

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