Sequential Leaching

Predicting the impact of mining on ground and surface water quality - sequential leaching tests

ChemCentre’s sequential leaching tests have been developed to identify chemical risks to the environment from potential contaminants due to the migration of metals and elements at mines into ground and surface water sources.

The new sequential leaching method predicts the order and extent of major ions, metals and metalloids that would be leached from waste rock material in non-acid environments (a process known as neutral metalliferous drainage) in just weeks, rather than the years the current methods of kinetic leaching require.

Aided by a decision support tool, tests can be optimised as a screening tool for early identification of risks, saving industry and government time and money, enabling better resource allocation and waste management, and will support efficient mine closure planning.

Phase One, funded by BHP and Minerals Research Institute of WA (MRIWA), developed and validated the test for variably weathered, low sulfur rocks from iron ore.

Phase two of the project is now focusing on applications to wider mining environments from iron ore mining and includes gold and base metals mining. This project is being funded by BHP, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto, Minerals Research Institute of WA (MRIWA) and CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE). The regulatory agencies Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) are collaborating through a scientific advisory panel for the project.

Find out about ChemCentre's Acid Mine Drainage services, including Acid Base Accounting, Australian Standard Leaching Protocol and Kinetic testing here.

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Phase One Report: Validation and Standardisation of Sequential Leaching Tests to Better Predict the Impact of Mining on ground and Surface Water Quality 

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