ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY OF MINING ACTIVITIES GEOC589/ME589 3 CRT, FALL 2016
Dr. Walder will for the forth time teach the class Environmental geochemistry of mining activities as a DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSE. That means you can attend the course from wherever you are as long as you have internet access and signed up for the course. How to register for the class without being a regular NM Tech student download the this. PDF file. Course brochure as a download file. The course is taught Monday and Wednesday 9.30-10.15. First day August 22.
Background photo is Chino Mine, NM. Environmental issues from Cradle to grave.

Ore deposits, especially mined and processed, are a potential environmental hazard. Exposure of fresh rock surfaces during mining, as well as the produced crushed and milled waste, will be subject to weathering processes, causing large-scale environmental damage if not sufficiently managed. Sulfide-bearing mineralization, in particular, is readily oxidized at surface, and has the potential to produce acid/neutral rock drainage (A/NRD), as well as release of heavy metals. Significant contamination of surface and groundwater may readily result from these two processes. In addition to the contamination threat, there is also a geotechnical threat to the environment; tailings dams, and waste rock piles may fail if poorly designed, mismanaged or subject to physical/geochemical weathering.

Goals: The potential environmental threat of a mine (or an un-mined mineral/ore deposit) can only be understood and managed through specific knowledge of mineralogy and geochemistry, hydrogeology, and geotechnical engineering. The course will, therefore provide students with the basic knowledge required to evaluate the potential geochemical hazard of a given property from a regulatory perspective and to understand the environmental geochemistry aspects of the existing or planned operation.

Issues to be covered:

  • Introduction to hydrogeochemistry
  • Introduction to ore deposits and processing
  • Metal mobility
  • Acid/Neutral Rock Drainage
  • Prediction methods
  • Pit Lake geochemistry
  • Tailings / Waste rock geochemistry
  • Remediation/Reclamation/Treatment