Published: Jul 28, 2016
Mine wastes secondary minerals efflorescent salts
S. Zaimis
M. Vavelidis
D. Alifragkis
V. Melfos
N. Kantiranis
E. Daftsis
E. Gazea

The Olympias tailings of NE Chalkidiki, Greece represent the mine wastes produced by the beneficiation of the Pb-Zn-Au-Ag ore deposit, which is hosted within the carbonate rocks of the Kerdylia Unit. In the present study X-Ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), optical microscopy, chemical analyses and pH measurements were conducted to determine the tailings mineralogy and chemical composition. The results indicated that they consist of gangue (quartz, rhodochrosite, calcite, dolomite, feldspars, micas, kaolinite and actinolite) and sulfide minerals (pyrite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite and galena), reflecting the source ore and its host rock composition, accompanied by traces of Fe-oxides (magnetite, hematite), Fe oxyhydroxides (goethite) and Mn-oxides, often enriched in Zn and Pb and in some cases Fe, Sb and As. Secondary sulfates (gypsum, jarosite) and surface efflorescent salts (ferrohexahydrite, hexahydrite, halotrichite) have also been recognized. The Olympias tailings are generally unoxidized, generating an alkaline environment. However, variations in composition result in the formation of restricted separate phases, such as thin layers and lenses of oxidized material that generates an acidic environment. In terms of precious metals content, the Olympias tailings are enriched in Au (up to 12 g/t) and Ag (up to 20 g/t).

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  • Petrology and Mineralogy
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