Spatial and temporal variations in the Ruttan Mine tailings, Leaf Rapids, Manitoba, Canada

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Etcheverry, David Jared
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The Ruttan Cu-Zn mine produced approximately 30 million tons of fine-grained tailings over 30 years. Since the closure of the mine in 2002, the tailings have been systematically dewatered through trenches which drain into Ruttan Lake and into the open pit and underground mine workings. This study evaluated the evolution of the tailings of Cell 3, which was underwater in 2002, and Cell 2, which was already dry and oxidized. Dewatering the submerged tailings in Cell 3 resulted in measureable changes in acidification in pore and shallow groundwater from rapid oxidation of very fine grained sulphides. Depth profiles of the concentration of metals in dissolved and solid fractions, when compared to other studies, suggest that the tailings in Cell 2 and Cell 3 are in an early stage of oxidation and that these tailings will produce low pH, metal laden water for years.
geochemistry, tailings, mineralogy, hydrogeology, microbiology