Economic potential of gold mine waste: a case study of Consolidated Murchison Mine Waste

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dc.contributor.advisor Ogola, J. S.
dc.contributor.advisor Mundalamo, H. R.
dc.contributor.author Ravele, Rembuluwani Solly
dc.date 2019
dc.date.accessioned 2019-10-10T10:35:18Z
dc.date.available 2019-10-10T10:35:18Z
dc.date.issued 2019-09-20
dc.identifier.citation Ravele, Rembuluwani Solly (2019) Economic potential of gold mine waste: a case study of Consolidated Murchison Mine Waste, University of Venda, South Africa.<http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1445>.
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1445
dc.description MESMEG en_US
dc.description Department of Mining and Environmental Geology
dc.description.abstract The increase in the demand and market price of gold has led to reprocessing of gold tailings in many parts of the world. Mines are recently closing down due to depletion of resources and increasing mining costs leading to the reprocessing of old tailings dams. The cost of rehabilitation is high, and therefore a more convenient way of rehabilitation is required. The most convenient strategy identified here was to reprocess tailings for gold and use waste rocks as construction materials. The tailings residues (waste remaining after reprocessing) will be relocated to a more convenient place to avoid pollution. Gold reprocessing from tailings dams has gained momentum in South Africa especially in the Witwatersrand Basin where there are large volumes of tailings. Gold is being reprocessed from tailings in this area using hydraulic monitors. This study focused on the evaluation of gold and heavy metals within the tailings at Consolidated Murchison Mine tailings in Gravelotte, Limpopo province. Augering was conducted over the tailings up to a depth of 8 m along four sampling Profiles. The first profile had two sampling points, the second profile with three sampling points, the third and fourth profiles consisted of four and five sampling points respectively. Samples were collected at 1 m interval, therefore a total of 112 samples were collected and analysed for heavy metals using X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry and 84 samples were analysed for gold using fire assaying. Tailings sampling was accompanied with tailings logging, taking note of colour, texture and moisture content. Based on this, the oxidation status of the tailings dam was determined. Oxidation zone of this tailings dam was mainly from top down to a depth of 3 m. The transitional zone was not identified, hence after the oxidation zone, the rest was unoxidized zone. This study established that gold was erratically distributed within the tailings dam with the lowest and highest values of 200 mg/kg and 1880 mg/kg respectively and the average was 670 mg/kg. The tonnage of tailings within the dam was found to be 13 280 310 tons with a total gold amount of 8 897. 81 kg. At the current world market, this interprets to US$ 306 932 396.00 (R 4 281 706 924.20). It was concluded that this tailings dam is economically viable for reprocessing, although previous studies have indicated that it is not possible to extract gold from tailings dams completely. The heavy metal content of Pb, Ni and Cr were found to be high with average values of (ppm); 5631.5, 2062.6 and 1345 v respectively. The metals with the lowest values were Cd, Co and Cu, averaging (ppm); 0.01 ppm, 19.8 ppm and 42.1 ppm respectively. Heavy metal content in soil around the tailings dam was gradually decreasing with distance from the tailings dam. Waste rocks have been used in some parts of the world as sub-base material for engineering construction, hence in this study, a total of 6 waste rock samples were collected using grab sampling method for geostatistical investigation. Such samples were subjected to various geotechnical tests which included particle size distribution analysis (sieve analysis), Atterberg limit tests and laboratory compaction test to determine their suitability for construction. The waste rock material was found to be suitable for road construction as it was classified under Group A-1-a using the AASHTO classification system. The material consisted mainly of rock fragments, gravel and sand material with minor silt/clay. In general, Consolidated Murchison mine waste was found to be suitable for road construction. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NRF en_US
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xv,157 leaves : chiefly color illustrations, color maps)
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights University of Venda
dc.subject Tailings dams en_US
dc.subject Gold reprocessing en_US
dc.subject Heavy metals en_US
dc.subject Waste rock en_US
dc.subject Engineering construction en_US
dc.subject.ddc 622.34220968257
dc.subject.ddc 622.34220968257
dc.subject.lcsh Mineral industries -- Waste disposal
dc.subject.lcsh Metal wastes
dc.subject.lcsh Gold mines and mining
dc.subject.lcsh Taillings (Metallurgy)
dc.subject.lcsh Factory and trade waste -- South Africa Limpopo.
dc.subject.lcsh Pollution -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.title Economic potential of gold mine waste: a case study of Consolidated Murchison Mine Waste en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US

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