University of Oulu

Juutinen, M., Seitsaari, M. & Sarala, P. (2023). Geochemical and mineralogical characterization of mine tailings at the Rautuvaara mine site and aspects to environmental conditions and resource potential. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland, 95(1), 59–78.

Geochemical and mineralogical characterization of mine tailings at the Rautuvaara mine site and aspects to environmental conditions and resource potential

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Author: Juutinen, Mitro1; Seitsaari, Markku1; Sarala, Pertti1
Organizations: 1Oulu Mining School, P.O. Box 3000, FI90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: The Geological Society of Finland, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-03


Mining industry generates a significant amount of waste including waste rock and tailings. The disposal of mine tailings has environmental impacts, such as the releasing of heavy metals to surface and underground waters. Therefore, adequate rehabilitation of mining waste storage facilities is essential. Abandoned tailings ponds may contain significant amounts of valuable minerals, including critical raw materials, and offer opportunities as secondary mineral resources. In this study geochemical and mineralogical characterization were made for the diverse mine tailings of the Rautuvaara tailings pond which was the final disposal site for different ore deposits. The samples were collected from two different locations in the tailings pond, preconcentrated and analysed with several methods including PSA, XRD, FE-SEM, EPMA, pXRF, WD-XRF and AAS. The geochemical results indicate substantially elevated Cu, As, Ni and Zn concentrations in the tailings. Mineralogical investigations revealed that the tailings contain valuable minerals such as gold, cobaltite, and W-bearing rutile. The last could be used as an indicator mineral in tailings classification and possibly also in future ore exploration. The study of secondary mineralogy revealed that the most weathered top layers of the tailings show secondary alteration rims on the surfaces of mineral particles, and the enrichment of As and Ni in the Fe- and Mn-oxide minerals.

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Series: Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland
ISSN: 0367-5211
ISSN-E: 1799-4632
ISSN-L: 0367-5211
Volume: 95
Issue: 1
Pages: 59 - 78
DOI: 10.17741/bgsf/95.1.005
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Funding: This paper was written as a part of the Biopeitto project which received a funding from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). / Additionally, the article preparation was supported by a grant received from the Faculty of Technology of University of Oulu.
Copyright information: © 2023 Geological Society of Finland. All published content of BGSF is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.