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Elementary characterization of environmental samples from pit lakes in Sweden

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Juan Mantero
Rimon Thomas
Mats Isaksson
Eva Forssell-Aronsson
Elis Holm
Rafael García-Tenorio
Publicerad i EXRS2016 European Conference on X-ray Spectrometry, Gothenburg, June 19-24, 2016
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, sektionen för onkologi, radiofysik, radiologi och urologi, Avdelningen för radiofysik
Språk en
Länkar www.exrs2016.se
Ämnesord Heavy metals, pit lakes, XRF techniques
Ämneskategorier Vatten i natur och samhälle, Radiofysik


The effect of mining activities in a country as Sweden (the major metal mining country in the European Union) implies enormous quantities of generated mining wastes. Historically, more than 2700 mines gather around 30000 sites that have been minor mines and quarries (according to the database of Geological Survey of Sweden, SGU). In 1950, there were around 100 active mines while nowadays no more than 15 active mines still remains with ongoing extractions. Many of these sites had opencast mines. During exploitation by open-pit mining, the water table is suppressed to avoid the flooding of active mines. However, when mining activity ceases, the water table recovers its original position, flooding the open pits and giving rise to mine pit lakes. The environmental problem arise because these waters can be affected by Acidic Mine Drainage (AMD), having high/very high concentration of heavy metals in solution. Apart from the impact to the ecosystem, these places are nearby populated areas and most of them are usually used for recreation purposes (swimming, fishing, diving) by inhabitant of these former mining areas. In this work, a survey on 30 different abandoned pit lakes was performed. Superficial waters and sediments from the shoreline were sampled to check the levels of metals (major elements and traces) at these sites. Water samples were doubly analysed: via TXRF with a S2 PICOFOX (equipped with Mo tube) and via ICP-MS. The aim was to compare and cross-check both measurement systems pointing out the advantages/disadvantages between them. Also physico-chemical parameters as pH, T, ORP, DO or salinity were measured in water samples and will be correlated with the chemical behaviour of some elements. The elementary characterization of sediments was carried out by WDXRF with an AXIOS system. The concentration levels of Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, S, Mg, Ca, Cr among others metals will be shown. In Waters, levels of Fe ranges from 0.01 to 235 mg/l, for S (0.9 to 8600 mg/l), Mn (0.02 to 8400 ppm), Cu (0.9 to 6400 ppm) or Zn (35 to 32000 ppm) as some examples. Regarding sediments, Fe ranges from 0.18 to 55 %, S (0.01 to 8.5%), Mn (0.01 to 0.85%), Cu (6 to 2125 ppm) or Zn (65 to 2000 ppm) with traces in Ba (35 to 7100 ppm) or Pb (1.3 to 2800 ppm) as more relevant elements. The main conclusion is that during this survey, some places with high levels of heavy metals were identified both in water and sediment samples.

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