Georange Environmental Reserach

Georange - Environmental research

Environmental research has been an important component of Georange. Thanks to funding by EU´s Structural Funds and private and public co-financers we have been able to address important environmental issues associated with mining. Funding has also been provided by VINNOVA (The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) in collaboration with the Swedish mining industry. The research has been executed mainly by scientists at Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and Umeå University (UmU).

Georange Environmental Testsite (GEET)  offers an infrastructure for R&D suitable not only for the researchers funded directly by the project but also for other scientists and industry partners who have an interest in pursuing environmental research in climatic conditions typical of the boreal region. Pilot scale test cells for studies of different methods for remediation is one the facilities GEET offers.

Results from previous research as well as new information are made avaliable through Georange Publication Database.

Long terms studies of remediation of  sulphidic tailings (LTU)  The long term monitoring of the groundwater quality in the soil covered tailings impoundment 1 in Kristineberg is continued. The groundwater monitoring, which was started in 1998 and discontinued in 2006, is now resumed. The performance of different alternative materials for dry cover of tailings is examined in pilot scale test cells (5mx5mx3m) at ambient climatic conditions. Sewage sludge is a material receiving particular interest.

Leakage of nitrogen from mining operations (LTU). Leakage of nitrogen from e.g. undetonated explosives is addressed. Other sources of nitrogen can be dissolved nitrous gases from blasting dissolved in water, cyanide leaching of gold ores and application of sewage sludge. Methods for removal of nitrogen in cold climate will be developed.

Secondary iron precipitates as metal scavengers (UmU)  Oxidation of pyrite (FeS2) in mine waste releases sulphate, iron(II) and protons, resulting in acid mine drainage (AMD). In contact with air Fe(II) oxidises and produces secondary Fe(III) phases, which under favourable conditions are able to remove heavy metals from the AMD. The effect of the secondary Fe(III) phases on the mobility of metals in the vicinity of tailings impoundments is studied.

Metal attenuation in tailings under anaerobic conditions UmU This project explores metal binding under anoxic conditions to minerals contained in tailings. The mechanisms behind the removal of metals will be studied on a molecular level.