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Minerals 2017, 7(11), 229; doi:10.3390/min7110229

Selenium and Other Trace Element Mobility in Waste Products and Weathered Sediments at Parys Mountain Copper Mine, Anglesey, UK

1
Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, Meston Building, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, AB24 3UE Aberdeen, UK
2
Trace Element Speciation Laboratory (TESLA), Department of Chemistry, Meston Building, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, AB24 3UE Aberdeen, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Se-Bearing Minerals: Structure, Composition, and Origin)
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Abstract

The Parys Mountain copper mining district (Anglesey, North Wales) hosts exposed pyritic bedrock, solid mine waste spoil heaps, and acid drainage (ochre sediment) deposits. Both natural and waste deposits show elevated trace element concentrations, including selenium (Se), at abundances of both economic and environmental consideration. Elevated concentrations of semi-metals such as Se in waste smelts highlight the potential for economic reserves in this and similar base metal mining sites. Selenium is sourced from the pyritic bedrock and concentrations are retained in red weathering smelt soils, but lost in bedrock-weathered soils and clays. Selenium correlates with Te, Au, Bi, Cd, Hg, Pb, S, and Sb across bedrock and weathered deposits. Man-made mine waste deposits show enrichment of As, Bi, Cu, Sb, and Te, with Fe oxide-rich smelt materials containing high Pb, up to 1.5 wt %, and Au contents, up to 1.2 ppm. The trace elements As, Co, Cu, and Pb are retained from bedrock to all sediments, including high Cu content in Fe oxide-rich ochre sediments. The high abundance and mobility of trace elements in sediments and waters should be considered as potential pollutants to the area, and also as a source for economic reserves of previously extracted and new strategic commodities. View Full-Text
Keywords: Parys Mountain; ochre; selenium; pyrite; gold; copper Parys Mountain; ochre; selenium; pyrite; gold; copper
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Bullock, L.A.; Parnell, J.; Perez, M.; Feldmann, J.; Armstrong, J.G. Selenium and Other Trace Element Mobility in Waste Products and Weathered Sediments at Parys Mountain Copper Mine, Anglesey, UK. Minerals 2017, 7, 229.

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