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Minerals 2016, 6(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020050

Leaching Behavior and Potential Environmental Effects of Trace Elements in Coal Gangue of an Open-Cast Coal Mine Area, Inner Mongolia, China

1
College of Geoscience and Surveying Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing 100083, China
2
Branch of Resources and Environment, China National Institute of Standardization, Beijing 100088, China
3
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Shifeng Dai, William Skinner and Anna H. Kaksonen
Received: 28 February 2016 / Revised: 5 May 2016 / Accepted: 6 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal)
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Abstract

In order to better understand the role of coal gangue in potential environmental and ecological risks, the leaching behavior of trace elements from coal gangue has been investigated in an open-cast coal mine, Inner Mongolia, China. Four comparative column leaching experiments were conducted to investigate the impacts of leaching time, pH values and sample amount on the leaching behavior of trace elements. Enrichment factors (EF), maximum leached amount (Lam), maximum leachability (Lrm), effects range low (ERL) and effects range median (ERM) were employed to evaluate potential environmental and ecological hazards resulting from the leaching behavior of environment-sensitive trace elements from coal gangue. Leaching time and sample amount display important effects on trace element concentrations, leached amounts and leachability. The pH values exhibit a weak influence on the leaching behavior of the selected trace elements (e.g., As, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Se, Cd, Sn, Pb and Hg). The coal gangue are enriched in As, Co, Se and Pb and, in particular, show higher environmental pollution levels of As and Se (EF > 2). Lam values suggest that all of the elements investigated do not show potential risk to soils and vegetation, but have a high hazard risk for ground water. Elements including Ni, As, Cr and Zn are inclined to show high or moderate biological toxicity. View Full-Text
Keywords: coal gangue; environment-sensitive trace elements; column leaching; leaching behavior; environmental hazard; ecological risk coal gangue; environment-sensitive trace elements; column leaching; leaching behavior; environmental hazard; ecological risk
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Yang, L.; Song, J.; Bai, X.; Song, B.; Wang, R.; Zhou, T.; Jia, J.; Pu, H. Leaching Behavior and Potential Environmental Effects of Trace Elements in Coal Gangue of an Open-Cast Coal Mine Area, Inner Mongolia, China. Minerals 2016, 6, 50.

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