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University of Johannesburg (2019)

Effect of regional geology and mining activity on water quality : studies in the eMalahleni (Witbank) and South Rand coalfields

Mgoqi, Aviwe

Titre : Effect of regional geology and mining activity on water quality : studies in the eMalahleni (Witbank) and South Rand coalfields

Auteur : Mgoqi, Aviwe

Université de soutenance : University of Johannesburg

Grade : MAGISTER SCIENTIAE in Geology 2019

Résumé
Acidic drainage generated in mining environments has been a major concern for many years, especially since the acidic drainage leads to the deterioration of quality in water resources. South Africa is a waterscarce country, and solutions to try and counteract the spread of acidic drainage in mining environments are of major importance. Prediction of the potential for constituents to generate or neutralise acidity produced has become an integral part of the treatment and mitigation process employed in numerous industries. The use of modern methods in the determination of acid generation and neutralisation potential in earth moving environments is critical in the improvement of mitigation and treatment methods. Methods are frequently generated in order to improve on existing methods, assist existing methods, or change the way existing methods operate. In the process of creating new methods, complications are often encountered, leading to an extended time period in the creation process. The current method focuses on the analyses of acid-generating and acid-neutralising elements with the use of Inductively-Coupled Plasma Optical Emissions Spectrometry (ICP-OES). The method aims to assist in the prediction of acid generation/neutralisation potential of samples and improve the efficiency by reducing the period it takes for successful prediction to be carried out and analysing an array of minerals considered to be involved in acid generation and neutralisation reactions. Samples were subjected to nitric and hydrochloric acid as a means of leaching out sulphate and sulphide sulphur species, respectively. Subjecting the samples to acid also releases readily-dissolving elements (likely to be involved in acid-neutralising reactions) and compounds into the leachate. The content of elements that are constituents of acid-producing minerals (Fe, S) are compared to elements that constitute acid-neutralising minerals (Ca, Mg, Na, K). A balance between the respective minerals allows for the determination of the acid-generating and acid-neutralising potential as part of Acid Base Accounting (ABA) procedures.

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