Characterization and Geochemical Behavior of Authier Lithium Mine Lithologies for Construction and Restauration Purposes

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Iuliana Laura Calugaru , Sara Magdouli, Simon Pierre Komtchou , Mehdi Zolfaghari, Rayen Tanabene , Maude Lévesque Michaud

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In this study, Authier lithium mine lithologies were characterized and their geochemical behavior was evaluated with the purpose to employ forthcoming mine waste in construction and restauration. Therefore, this project’s goal was the reduction of the environmental footprint of mining activity by reducing the supply in off-site borrow material. However, this can be considered if the drainage generated by water/rock interaction poses no environmental risk such as leachate with acidic pH and/or significant toxic metal charge. Preliminary evaluation allowed identifying three waste rock lithologies: ultramafic volcanic, basalt and peridotite, requiring detailed investigations. Consequently, three samples of each lithology were collected from different places on the site and the following analysis and tests were performed: elemental analysis by acid digestion followed by ICP-MS, mineralogy by X-Ray Diffraction, paste pH,   kinetic net acid generation testing (NAG), neutralizing potential (NP), and Sulfur/Carbon by induction furnace. Further, the following parameters were calculated: the ratio of neutralizing potential to acid generation (NP: AP ratio), the net neutralization potential (NNP) by acid/base accounting (ABA), mineralogical index (M) and NNP according to Kwong and Paktunc approach, respectively. To conclude, all samples were classified non-acid generating, mainly due to their low Sulfur content (<0,3%). However, in the event of sulfide oxidation, rapid and intermediate weathering silicates were found sufficient for neutralization. To evaluate metal leaching, kinetic tests are ongoing in situ in barrels of 400 kg rock. Sequential extraction is ongoing, to evaluate the fractions: water soluble, exchangeable, carbonate bound, Fe-Mn oxides bound, organic matter/sulfide bound and residual.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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