News

PRESENTATIONS AT NORWEGIAN GEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (NGF) JANUARY 2017
Dr. Walder will be presenting of ongoing research from Sulitjelma Mining District and the Bruvann Ni-Olivin deposit in the environmental session and Mineral resource session at the NGF winter meeting. KREC is evaluating most of the potential sources of contamination to the Langavatten. Samples have been collected from so far 10 of the main waste dump areas. In addition many of the rivers and drainages from these areas have also been collected and analyzed. The work will continue next summer. This is currently unfunded research.
Dr. Walder will also present work of ongoing research at the Bruvann Nickel-Olivin deposit, waste dumps and tailings. The research has so far been focused on the tailings area, but investigation of the waste dumps and drainages where initiated last summer. These investigations will also look into the possibility of leaching of nickel from the low-grade ore. This work is partly funded by Norwegian Science Foundation, Northern-Norway Regional Funds and matched with KREC funds. 1-12-2016
Column Experiments with UiT Arctic University of Norway
KREC and has made an agreement with Arctic University to run column experiments in connection with a project "MIN-NORTH Development, Evaluation and Optimization of Measures to Reduce the Impact on the Environment from Mining Activities in Northern Regions" led by Dr. Jinmei Lu. These column experiments using tailings from the Råna Ni-olivine mine deposited in the tidal flats in Ballangen. KREC will have the weekly management of the experiments, performed watering of columns on a biweekly basis and perform most of the water analysis. One research from Tromsø will on a frequent basis also follow up the experiments.
11 January, 2016
RÅNA NICKEL-OLIVIN DEPOSIT, ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND POTENTIAL FOR NI EXTRACTION
KREC in cooperation with New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM, USA are performing several studies on the Råna nickel-olivin deposit, its tailings and waste rock. These studies are evaluating environmental issues as Ni and As leaching as well as extraction processes for nickel leaching from the sulfides and the olivine.
The Råna Nickel-olivin deposit located 30 km south of Narvik, was mined between 1989 and 2001. The Nickel-olivin AS mining company extracted nickel containing pyrrhotite and pentlandite through regular flotation process and deposited the tailings on top of old sulfide tailings from Bjørkåsen mine in the tidal flats outside Ballangen. The tailings where reclaimed putting a thin cover of soil 0-20 cm thick over the tailings. The pyrrhotite has been oxidizing generating a low pH environment.
Ore was extracted primarily from an underground operation, with a smaller open pit. The mining company exploited approximately 7 Mton ore. There is a low grade mineralization of potentially 45 Mton left. 20-30% of the nickel is hosted by the olivine.
KREC is investigation the potential for nickel extraction from the waste rocks near the mine site at Bruvatn as well as from the tailings. The investigations are also evaluating the environmental affects of poor reclamation of the tailings as well as the lack of reclamation of the waste rocks. KREC has currently not obtained any funding for the project. One pHd student and one MSc student both at New Mexico tech is working on this as well as UiT (see article above).
BOLIVIAN MINE WASTE CHARACTERISATION GUIDELINE DEVELOPED BY DR. WALDER AND DIMA IS BECOMING A NATIONAL GUIDELINE (Posted April 2013)

Bolivia has a 500 year mining history and was historically a major world source for silver and tin. This has resulted in large amount of abandoned mines (at least 5000-10000) with corresponding tailings and waste rocks and A/NRD. The state owned mining company COMIBOL controls at least 40 larger mining centers that has major influence on water resources. COMIBOL with financial aid from Denmark establish an environmental department Direction Media Ambiente (DIMA) to manage the environmental issues of these centers and to build a system for prioritisation of remediation/mitigation work. Dr. Ingar Walder of KREC was in 2005 contracted to aid DIMA in this work. In co-operation with the DIMA staff, Dr. Walder developed guidelines for sampling and characterisation together with a system of comparing the level of contamination and a cost benefit system to evaluate the most effective mitigation for the different sites. Dr. Walder also held several training courses for technical staff in DIMA as well as for the Ministry of Mines. The guidelines for sampling and characterisation is now becoming the National guideline for mine waste characterisation and published this spring. Download prioritisation system article


STRONG INCREASE IN MINING ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AT KREC (posted March 7, 2012)

Over the last seven years Kjeøy Research & Education Center (KREC) has conducted research on Acid/Neutral Rock Drainage (A/NRD) associated with mining activities and is the leading organization on A/NRD research in Norway. KREC has supported two MSc students one PhD student and is currently supporting one MSc (Univ. Oslo, Norway) and one PhD student (Univ. Miskolc, Hungary). Through two new PhD students, KREC is increasing the research on A/NRD issues from improving prediction methods, performing mineral solubility studies, to evaluating improved reclamation processes. The current budget for this research is approximately 10 mill. NOK over the next 3 years. The project is supported by the Skattefunn Program (Norwegian tax relief program for research), however, KREC is seeking other sponsors for this research and, as well as, sponsors to further increase the mining environmental research program at KREC.

Thus far, a major part of the research at KREC has focused on ARD issues in Bolivia with some research on European mining issues, and CO2-mineral sequestration using mine waste material and new mineral resources. The CO2 mineral sequestration research has resulted in three Patent applications. Futur A/NRD research will include more of Norwegian abandoned mines sites. Studies will be conducted on waste material from Røros, Sulitjelma, and Råna mining areas together with field studies at the sites to better understand the ARD processes after reclamation has been emplaced for some time, and to further improve prediction methods. Results of the research can also be used as part of base line studies for new mining operations, as well as, improving the current remediation/reclamation level in Norway.

As part of the increased research activity, KREC will also run more courses and workshops on mineral prospecting, mineral processing and mining environmental issues. Four courses (one in Hungary) are scheduled this spring and currently one for the fall.

Through this research KREC will increase it's cooperation with Univ. Oslo, Norway; Univ. Miskolc, Hungary, German geological Survey, Hanover, Germany; University of Santiago, Chile; and Univ. New Mexico, USA.


Characterization of the effects of grain size to mine water quality and Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) production in Kinetic Testing

Rodrigo Embile Jr is representing MinSouth, from The University of Exeter

The quality of mine drainage from sulfide containing waste dumps is controlled by several factors and surface area (grain size) exposed to weathering conditions is important. However, the textural variation may control the main driving mechanisms for an acid generating or neutralizing reactions. Depending on their rates and intrinsic properties, leachate chemistry for a certain grain size can be characterized through different types of tests and analysis. Kinetic test using humidity columns is performed on five different grain size ranges of waste rocks. Water leachate quality is analysed on a weekly basis for their pH, alkalinity, conductivity, anions, cations and dissolved metal concentrations. Results showed that finer grains produced near neutral to neutral pH and higher sulfate production rates unlike for coarser grains. This indicates that the rate of sulphide oxidation and neutralization may be only partly controlled by grain size as well as a number of interrelated factors.