The effective control and treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) from sulfide-containing mine wastes is of fundamental importance for current and future long-term sustainable and cost-effective mining industry operations, and for sustainable management of legacy AMD sites. Historically, AMD management has focused on the use of expensive neutralising chemicals to treat toxic leachates. Accordingly, there is a need to develop more cost-effective and efficient methods to prevent AMD at source. Laboratory kinetic leach column experiments, designed to mimic a sulfide-containing waste rock dump, were conducted to assess the potential of organic waste carbon supplements to stimulate heterotrophic microbial growth, and supress pyrite oxidation and AMD production. Microbiological results showed that the addition of biosolids was effective at maintaining high microbial heterotroph populations and preventing AMD generation over a period of 80 weeks, as verified by leachate chemistry and electron microscopy analyses. This research contributes to the ongoing development of a cost effective, multi-barrier geochemical-microbial control strategy for reduced mineral sulfide oxidation rates at source.
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- acid mine drainage (AMD)
- kinetic leach column
- organic carbon