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Catalan, L. J. J., & Yin, G. (2003). Comparison of calcite to quicklime for amending partially oxidized sulfidic mine tailings before flooding. Environ Sci Technol, 37(7), 1408–1413.
Abstract: Flooding partially oxidized mine tailings for the purpose of mitigating further oxidation of sulfide minerals and generation of acid drainage is generally preceded by treatment with alkaline amendments to prevent releasing previously accumulated acidity to the water cover. This work compares the ability of calcite (CaCO3) and quicklime (CaO), two common amendments, to establish and maintain pH conditions and dissolved metal concentrations within environmentally acceptable ranges over long time periods. Although higher initial pH values were obtained with quicklime, the pH of quicklime treated tailings decreased over time. This was attributed to the low buffering capacity of quicklime treated tailings and to the consumption of hydroxide ions by incongruent dissolution of water-insoluble iron oxyhydroxysulfate minerals. In contrast, the pH of tailings treated with calcite increased initially and then remained stable at pH approximate to 6.7. This pH behavior was due to the lower reactivity of iron oxyhydroxysulfates with calcite, the increased buffering capacity provided by bicarbonate ions, and the incomplete dissolution of calcite. Overall, calcite was found preferable to quicklime for maintaining long-term neutral pH conditions in the treated tailings. With the exception of zinc, acceptable dissolved metal concentrations were achieved with calcite treated tailings.