Econ. Environ. Geol. 2001; 34(5): 461-470

Published online October 31, 2001

© THE KOREAN SOCIETY OF ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY

Potential Contamination of Soil and Groundwater from the Residual Mine Tailings in the Restored Abandoned Mine Area : Shihung Mine Area

Yejin Jung1 and Sanghoon Lee2*

1Division of Environmental process research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul 130-012, Korea
2Division of Life Sciences, The Catholic University of Korea, Puchon 420-743, Korea

Correspondence to :

Sanghoon Lee

slee@www.cuk.ac.kr

Received: August 9, 2001; Accepted: October 23, 2001

Abstract

The Shihung mine was restored in the early 90's after abandonment for 20 years since 1973. Although disposed mine tailings were removed and the site was replaced by an incineration plant, still some residual mine tailings remain in the places including the old mine tailing disposal area and the adjacent agricultural area. These residual mine tailings are prone to impose an adverse impact on the soil and groundwater and needs investigation for the potential contamination. Mine tailing samples were collected from the old tailing disposal area and the rice paddy. The porewater from the mine tailing were extracted and analysed to investigate chemical changes along the reaction path. Batch leaching tests were also carried out in the laboratory to find any supporting evidence found in the field anlysis. Evidence of elemental leaching was confirmed both by the mine tailing and the porewater chemistry in them. The element
concentrations of Cu, Cd, Pb, Zn in the porewater exceed the standard for drinking water of Korean government and US EPA. Leaching of heavy metals from the mine tailing seem to be responsible for the contamination. In batch leaching test, heavy metals were either continuously released or declined rapidly. Combining the information with porewater variation with depths and the geochemical modeling results, most of elements are controlled by dissolution and/or precipitation processes, with some solubility controlling solid phases (Cu, Pb, Fe and Zn). Batch leaching test conducted at fixed pH 4 showed much higher releases for the heavy metals up to 400 times (Zn) and this area is becoming more vulnerable to soil and groundwater pollution as precipitation pH shifts to acidic condition.

Keywords mine tailings groundwater pollution, heavy metals, geochemical modelling.

Article

Econ. Environ. Geol. 2001; 34(5): 461-470

Published online October 31, 2001

Copyright © THE KOREAN SOCIETY OF ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY.

Potential Contamination of Soil and Groundwater from the Residual Mine Tailings in the Restored Abandoned Mine Area : Shihung Mine Area

Yejin Jung1 and Sanghoon Lee2*

1Division of Environmental process research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul 130-012, Korea
2Division of Life Sciences, The Catholic University of Korea, Puchon 420-743, Korea

Correspondence to:

Sanghoon Lee

slee@www.cuk.ac.kr

Received: August 9, 2001; Accepted: October 23, 2001

Abstract

The Shihung mine was restored in the early 90's after abandonment for 20 years since 1973. Although disposed mine tailings were removed and the site was replaced by an incineration plant, still some residual mine tailings remain in the places including the old mine tailing disposal area and the adjacent agricultural area. These residual mine tailings are prone to impose an adverse impact on the soil and groundwater and needs investigation for the potential contamination. Mine tailing samples were collected from the old tailing disposal area and the rice paddy. The porewater from the mine tailing were extracted and analysed to investigate chemical changes along the reaction path. Batch leaching tests were also carried out in the laboratory to find any supporting evidence found in the field anlysis. Evidence of elemental leaching was confirmed both by the mine tailing and the porewater chemistry in them. The element
concentrations of Cu, Cd, Pb, Zn in the porewater exceed the standard for drinking water of Korean government and US EPA. Leaching of heavy metals from the mine tailing seem to be responsible for the contamination. In batch leaching test, heavy metals were either continuously released or declined rapidly. Combining the information with porewater variation with depths and the geochemical modeling results, most of elements are controlled by dissolution and/or precipitation processes, with some solubility controlling solid phases (Cu, Pb, Fe and Zn). Batch leaching test conducted at fixed pH 4 showed much higher releases for the heavy metals up to 400 times (Zn) and this area is becoming more vulnerable to soil and groundwater pollution as precipitation pH shifts to acidic condition.

Keywords mine tailings groundwater pollution, heavy metals, geochemical modelling.

    KSEEG
    Apr 30, 2024 Vol.57 No.2, pp. 107~280

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