WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment
Mining activity always has high impact on its surroundings, being waste deposition the cause of multiple and complex problems to the environment. One of them is Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), causing acid water percolation through large areas in the mine site. Portugal was a prosper tungsten producer from the beginning of the 20th century, having its apogee during World War II. Nowadays there are millions of tons of mine residues deposited in either stock piles or in tailing dams, most of them abandoned, and only one mine still producing tungsten. Available experimental tests to evaluate the acid production potential are listed and commented. Fresh tailings from the still active Panasqueira mine were used as a case study. Laboratory scale tests allowed us to predict the AMD potential as well as its kinetics, which constitutes a very important tool in tailings management. Pilot scale experiments tested the effect of different cover types, including an organic compound host of oxygen consumer microorganisms, in preventing and reducing AMD.
Year of publication: 2008