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Antimony distribution and environmental mobility at an historic antimony smelter site, New Zealand

Title data

Wilson, Nathaniel ; Craw, Dave ; Hunter, Keith A.:
Antimony distribution and environmental mobility at an historic antimony smelter site, New Zealand.
In: Environmental Pollution. Vol. 129 (2004) Issue 2 . - pp. 257-266.
ISSN 1873-6424
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2003.10.014

Abstract in another language

A historic antimony smelter site at Endeavour Inlet, New Zealand has smelter residues with up to 17 wt.% antimony. Residues include coarse tailings (cm scale particles, poorly sorted), sand tailings (well sorted) and smelter slag (blocks up to 30 cm across). All of this material has oxidised to some degree over the ca. 100 years since the site was abandoned. Oxidation has resulted in acidification of the residues down to pH 2-5. Smelter slag contains pyrrhotite (FeS) and metallic antimony, and oxidation is restricted to surfaces only. The coarse tailings are the most oxidised, and few sulfide grains persist. Unoxidised sand tailings contain 10-20 vol.% stibnite (Sb2S3) containing up to 5% As, with subordinate arsenopyrite (FeAsS), and minor pyrite (FeS2). The sand tailings are variably oxidised on a scale of 2-10 cm, but original depositional layering is preserved during oxidation and formation of senarmontite (Sb2O3). Oxidation of sand tailings has resulted in localised mobility of both Sb and As on the cm scale, resulting in redistribution of these metalloids with iron oxyhydroxide around sand grain boundaries. Experiments demonstrate that Sb mobility decreases with time on a scale of days. Attenuation of both As and Sb occurs due to adsorption on to iron oxyhydroxides which are formed during oxidation of the smelter residues. There is no detectable loss of Sb or As from the smelter site into the adjacent river, <50 m away, which has elevated Sb (ca. 20 microg/l) and As (ca. 7 microg/l) from mineralised rocks upstream. Despite the high concentrations of Sb and As in the smelter residues, these metalloids are not being released into the environment.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER88567
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Environmental Geochemistry Group
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 07:29
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2016 06:32
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/20638