N.V. Yurkevich
O.P. Saeva
N.A. Palchik

: Applied Geochemistry

Sulfide-mineral-bearing mill wastes are sources of high concentrations of acid, soluble metals, and As. These are serious problems for ore mining areas such as the Kemerovo and Cheljabinsk regions in Russia. This study evaluated the distribution of the mill wastes, the mobility of As from the wastes, and the potential of natural materials to attenuate As dispersion in the broader environment. Arsenic contents in wastes of the Belovo Zn-processing (Kemerovo) and the Karabash Cu-smelting plants (Cheljabinsk) are 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than the content of continental crust. Main mineral forms of As in these wastes are arsenopyrite (FeAsS) and scorodite (FeAsO42H2O). High dissolved As concentrations are found in water draining the wastes and in rivers adjacent to the mill sites. The water concentrations commonly exceed drinking water standards. High As concentrations in bottom sediments of the affected rivers extend a 100 m downstream of the waste drainage input. These sediments are also a source of river water contamination