Forms of Pb, Zn and Cd in the different size fractions (< 2 μm, 2-53 μm and > 53 μm) of waste dumps, stream sediments and surrounding soils from a former Au mine in Korea, were investigated chemically by sequential extraction analysis and mineralogically by XRD and analytical SEM, so as to clarify the relationships between chemical and mineralogical forms. Total concentrations for the waste dumps and the stream sediments range from 655 to 2920 mg/kg for Pb, 565 to 1191 mg/kg for Zn, and 24.4 to 71.4 mg/kg for Cd, while those for the surrounding soils do not exceed the natural background levels. Direct observations on the heavy mineral fractions of the waste dumps and the stream sediments indicates that the primary sphalerite is still the main pool of the Zn and Cd, while a large part of the primary galena has been changed into a carbonate-bound form. This is in a good agreement with the partitioning of chemical forms in the coarse fractions, in which most of the Zn (75.3 to 79.4% for the waste dumps) and Cd (54.8 to 60.1% for the waste dumps) are associated with the oxidizable form, while most of the Pb (68.8 to 71.0% for the waste dumps) is in the acid (NaOAc)-extractable form. On the other hand, the partitioning of metal forms in the clay fraction is characterised by the highest proportion of the reducible form for all metals (56.6 to 73.8% for Pb, 60.2 to 68.4% for Zn, and 27.1 to 36.8% for Cd in the waste dumps), suggesting precipitation of easily to moderately reducible oxides and hydroxides from the other forms during weathering. With the increase of pH, the dramatic changes of the acid-extractable Pb, the oxidizable Zn and Cd in the coarse fractions, and the exchangeable form, especially for Cd in the clay fraction indicate that pH is the prime factor controlling the partitioning of heavy metals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Geochemistry and Petrology