Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Unravelling the Deformation of Paleoproterozoic Marbles and Zn-Pb Ore Bodies by Combining 3D-Photogeology and Hyperspectral Data (Black Angel Mine, Central West Greenland)
Minerals 2022, 12(7), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12070800 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 486
Abstract
The Black Angel Zn-Pb ore deposit is hosted in folded Paleoproterozoic marbles of the Mârmorilik Formation. It is exposed in the southern part of the steep and inaccessible alpine terrain of the Rinkian Orogen, in central West Greenland. Drill-core data integrated with 3D-photogeology [...] Read more.
The Black Angel Zn-Pb ore deposit is hosted in folded Paleoproterozoic marbles of the Mârmorilik Formation. It is exposed in the southern part of the steep and inaccessible alpine terrain of the Rinkian Orogen, in central West Greenland. Drill-core data integrated with 3D-photogeology and hyperspectral imagery of the rock face allow us to identify stratigraphic units and extract structural information that contains the geological setting of this important deposit. The integrated stratigraphy distinguishes chemical/mineralogical contrast within lithologies dominated by minerals that are difficult to distinguish with the naked eye, with a similar color of dolomitic and scapolite-rich marbles and calcitic, graphite-rich marbles. These results strengthen our understanding of the deformation style in the marbles and allow a subdivision between evaporite-carbonate platform facies and carbonate slope facies. Ore formation appears to have been mainly controlled by stratigraphy, with mineralizing fluids accumulating within permeable carbonate platform facies underneath carbonate slope facies and shales as cap rock. Later, folding and shearing were responsible for the remobilization and improvement of ore grades along the axial planes of shear folds. The contact between dolomitic scapolite-rich and calcitic graphite-rich marbles probably represents a direct stratigraphic marker, recognizable in the drill-cores, to be addressed for further 3D-modeling and exploration in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D-Modelling of Crustal Structures and Mineral Deposit Systems)
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Article
Incorporating Kinetic Modeling in the Development Stages of Hard Rock Mine Projects
Minerals 2021, 11(12), 1306; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121306 - 24 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
Weathering cell test, designed specifically to overcome material-limited constraints, yields prompt and efficient experimental assessment during the development stages of mining projects. However, it has barely benefited from geochemical modeling tools despite their ease of use. Accordingly, this paper aims to strengthen the [...] Read more.
Weathering cell test, designed specifically to overcome material-limited constraints, yields prompt and efficient experimental assessment during the development stages of mining projects. However, it has barely benefited from geochemical modeling tools despite their ease of use. Accordingly, this paper aims to strengthen the upstream geochemical assessment via parametric analysis that simulates the effect of various mineral assemblages on leachate quality recovered from weathering cells. The main objective is to simulate the pH in presence of silicate neutralizing minerals and Mn release from carbonates based upon minimal characterization data. The public domain code PHREEQC was used for geochemical kinetic modeling of four weathering cells. The kinetic model utilized a water film concept to simulate diffusion of chemical elements from mineral surfaces to the pore water. The obtained results suggest that the presence of the silicate neutralizing minerals slightly affects the Mn release from carbonates. Furthermore, plagioclases could supply a significant neutralization potential when they predominate the mineral assemblage. Finally, coupling weathering cell test and parametric analyses illuminate the pH evolution for various mineral proportion scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Geochemistry in the Mining Environment)
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Article
Seismic-Scale Evidence of Thrust-Perpendicular Normal Faulting in the Western Outer Carpathians, Poland
Minerals 2021, 11(11), 1252; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11111252 - 11 Nov 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Based on the interpretation of 2D seismic profiles integrated with surface geological investigations, a mechanism responsible for the formation of a large scale normal fault zone has been proposed. The fault, here referred to as the Rycerka Fault, has a predominantly normal dip-slip [...] Read more.
Based on the interpretation of 2D seismic profiles integrated with surface geological investigations, a mechanism responsible for the formation of a large scale normal fault zone has been proposed. The fault, here referred to as the Rycerka Fault, has a predominantly normal dip-slip component with the detachment surface located at the base of Carpathian units. The fault developed due to the formation of an anticlinal stack within the Dukla Unit overlain by the Magura Units. Stacking of a relatively narrow duplex led to the growth of a dome-like culmination in the lower unit, i.e., the Dukla Unit, and, as a consequence of differential uplift of the unit above and outside the duplex, the upper unit (the Magura Unit) was subjected to stretching. This process invoked normal faulting along the lateral culmination wall and was facilitated by the regional, syn-thrusting arc–parallel extension. Horizontal movement along the fault plane is a result of tear faulting accommodating a varied rate of advancement of Carpathian units. The time of the fault formation is not well constrained; however, based on superposition criterion, the syn -thrusting origin is anticipated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Petrology and Evolution of the Outer Carpathian Mountains)
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Article
Cyanobacterial Communities of Carbonate Sediments and Biomineralization in Peterhof Fountains’ Water Supply System, Russia
Minerals 2021, 11(11), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11111199 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 657
Abstract
The role of cyanobacterial communities in the formation of carbonate sediments (ancient and modern) is not completely clear. We studied the cyanobacterial communities connected with carbonate sediments of the freshwater bodies feeding the historical Peterhof fountains (Saint-Petersburg, Russia). Cyanobacterial communities were studied by [...] Read more.
The role of cyanobacterial communities in the formation of carbonate sediments (ancient and modern) is not completely clear. We studied the cyanobacterial communities connected with carbonate sediments of the freshwater bodies feeding the historical Peterhof fountains (Saint-Petersburg, Russia). Cyanobacterial communities were studied by metagenome analysis and optical microscopy. Carbonates associated with cyanobacterial communities (both in situ and in vitro) were studied by powder X-ray diffraction analysis, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. The interconnection between the mineral composition of carbonate sediments and inhabiting microorganism species was established. The leading role of cyanobacteria in carbonate biomineralization in fresh water of Peterhof fountains water supply system was shown. Cyanobacteria of 24 genera were revealed in sediments composed of calcite and aragonite. The crystallization of carbonates on the surface of 13 species of cyanobacteria was found. Using model experiments, a significant contribution of cyanobacterial species of the Oscillatoriaceae family (Phormidium spp., Lyngbya sp., Oscillatoria formosa) to carbonate biomineralization is demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms and Minerals in Natural and Engineered Environments)
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Article
Specific Mixing Energy of Cemented Paste Backfill, Part I: Laboratory Determination and Influence on the Consistency
Minerals 2021, 11(11), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11111165 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 492
Abstract
Slump determination is widely used to assess the consistency and transportability of fresh cemented paste backfill (CPB). CPB consistency can depend on the mixing procedure for CPB preparation. In this paper, a method was developed to determine the specific mixing energy (SME) that [...] Read more.
Slump determination is widely used to assess the consistency and transportability of fresh cemented paste backfill (CPB). CPB consistency can depend on the mixing procedure for CPB preparation. In this paper, a method was developed to determine the specific mixing energy (SME) that is dissipated during the preparation of CPB mixtures and to analyze its effect on CPB consistency. For this purpose, CPB recipes were prepared using two tailings and the mixing parameters (mixing time and speed and load mass) were successively varied. SME was determined for each mixture using a power meter equipped with an energy recording system mounted on a laboratory Omcan mixer. Slump was also determined for each mixture. A semi-empirical model was then developed to predict SME as a function of the mixing parameters. Results showed that predicted SME compared well with measured SME during CPB preparation. Results also showed that slump increased with increasing SME. The influence of SME on the rheological and mechanical properties of CPB and practical applications are presented in a companion paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Backfilling Materials for Underground Mining, Volume II)
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Article
Microbe-Mediated Mn Oxidation—A Proposed Model of Mineral Formation
Minerals 2021, 11(10), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11101146 - 18 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 876
Abstract
Manganese oxides occur in a wide range of environmental settings either as coatings on rocks, sediment, and soil particles, or as discrete grains. Although the production of biologically mediated Mn oxides is well established, relatively little is known about microbial-specific strategies for utilizing [...] Read more.
Manganese oxides occur in a wide range of environmental settings either as coatings on rocks, sediment, and soil particles, or as discrete grains. Although the production of biologically mediated Mn oxides is well established, relatively little is known about microbial-specific strategies for utilizing Mn in the environment and how these affect the morphology, structure, and chemistry of associated mineralizations. Defining such strategies and characterizing the associated mineral properties would contribute to a better understanding of their impact on the local environment and possibly facilitate evaluation of biogenicity in recent and past Mn accumulations. Here, we supplement field data from a Mn rock wall deposit in the Ytterby mine, Sweden, with data retrieved from culturing Mn oxidizers isolated from this site. Microscopic and spectroscopic techniques are used to characterize field site products and Mn precipitates generated by four isolated bacteria (Hydrogenophaga sp., Pedobacter sp., Rhizobium sp., and Nevskia sp.) and one fungal-bacterial co-culture (Cladosporium sp.—Hydrogenophaga sp. Rhizobium sp.—Nevskia sp.). Two of the isolates (Pedobacter sp. and Nevskia sp.) are previously unknown Mn oxidizers. At the field site, the onset of Mn oxide mineralization typically occurs in areas associated with globular wad-like particles and microbial traces. The particles serve as building blocks in the majority of the microstructures, either forming the base for further growth into laminated dendrites-botryoids or added as components to an existing structure. The most common nanoscale structures are networks of Mn oxide sheets structurally related to birnessite. The sheets are typically constructed of very few layers and elongated along the octahedral chains. In places, the sheets bend and curl under to give a scroll-like appearance. Culturing experiments show that growth conditions (biofilm or planktonic) affect the ability to oxidize Mn and that taxonomic affiliation influences crystallite size, structure, and average oxidation state as well as the onset location of Mn precipitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms and Minerals in Natural and Engineered Environments)
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Article
The Effect of Curing under Applied Stress on the Mechanical Performance of Cement Paste Backfill
Minerals 2021, 11(10), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11101107 - 09 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
After placing the Cement Paste Backfill (CPB) slurry in mined cavities underground, during the setting and hardening processes, the weight and hydrostatic pressure of the upper-layer CPB slurry applies an axial load over the bottom-layer CPB materials, which is called the self-consolidation of [...] Read more.
After placing the Cement Paste Backfill (CPB) slurry in mined cavities underground, during the setting and hardening processes, the weight and hydrostatic pressure of the upper-layer CPB slurry applies an axial load over the bottom-layer CPB materials, which is called the self-consolidation of CPB slurry. Due to this phenomenon, the mechanical properties of in situ CPB could be considerably different from laboratory results. Hence, it is crucial to understand the effect of self-consolidation behaviour on the mechanical properties of backfill material. This paper presents an experimental study on the impact of axial applied stress (As) during curing, which represents the various self-consolidation conditions and curing times on the mechanical properties of CPB material prepared using the tailings of a copper mine in South Australia and a newly released commercially manufactured cement called Minecem (MC). A curing under pressure apparatus (CPA) is designed to cure CPB samples under axial applied stress. The equipment can apply and measure axial load during curing and measure the passive lateral stress due to axial load which represents the horizontal stresses at a certain depth of CPB stope on the retaining structure. The prepared samples with axially applied pressure during curing were tested under uniaxial and triaxial compressive loading conditions. Microstructural tests by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were also used to study the fabric evolution in response to various applied stresses during curing. Overall, the increase in As during curing leads to higher resultant CPB peak strength and stiffness under uniaxial and triaxial compression tests. For instance, a sample cured under 3.6 MPa axial load for 28 days demonstrates a uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) value of five times more than a sample cured under atmospheric curing conditions. Passive lateral stress was measured during the curing period and was representative of underground barricade stress. Furthermore, during curing, the axial applied stress changed the initial CPB pore structure after placement. With the increase in applied stress, the stress compressed CPB samples at the macroscale, leading to much smaller pores or cracks prior to the hydration process. At an early stage, the increase in UCS due to axial applied stress mainly arises from a dense microstructure caused by the compression of tailings and cement particles. With the increase in curing time, the observation also shows that a CPB matrix with fewer pore spaces may improve the hydration progress; hence, the influence of axial applied stress becomes more pronounced in long-term UCS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Backfilling Materials for Underground Mining, Volume II)
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Article
Wildfires as a Weathering Agent of Carbonate Rocks
Minerals 2021, 11(10), 1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11101091 - 04 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 832
Abstract
While most of the scientific effort regarding wildfires has predominantly focused on fire effects on vegetation and soils, the role of fire as an essential weathering agent has been largely overlooked. This study aims to evaluate rock decay processes during wildfires, in relation [...] Read more.
While most of the scientific effort regarding wildfires has predominantly focused on fire effects on vegetation and soils, the role of fire as an essential weathering agent has been largely overlooked. This study aims to evaluate rock decay processes during wildfires, in relation to ground temperatures and rock morphologies of limestone, dolomite, and chalk. In 2010, a major forest fire in Israel caused massive destruction of the exposed rocks and accelerated rock weathering over the burned slopes. While a detailed description of the bedrock exfoliation phenomenon was previously reported, here, we conducted an experimental open fire to determine the temperature and gradients responsible for boulder shattering. The results show ground temperatures of 700 °C after 5 min from ignition, while the peak temperature (880 °C) was reached after 9 min. Temperature gradients show a rapid increase during the first 5 min (136 °C/min), moderate increase during the next 4 min (43 °C/min), and slow decrease for the next 9 min (25 °C/min). After 12 min, all boulders of all formations were cracked or completely shattered. The behaviour of carbonate rocks upon heating was studied to identify the erosive effects of fire, namely the formation of new cracks and matrix deterioration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weathering of Limestone)
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Article
Influence of Temperature on Rising Bubble Dynamics in Water and n-pentanol Solutions
Minerals 2021, 11(10), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11101067 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 981
Abstract
Data in the literature on the influence of water temperature on the terminal velocity of a single rising bubble are highly contradictory. Different variations in bubble velocity with temperature are reported even for potentially pure systems. This paper presents a systematic study on [...] Read more.
Data in the literature on the influence of water temperature on the terminal velocity of a single rising bubble are highly contradictory. Different variations in bubble velocity with temperature are reported even for potentially pure systems. This paper presents a systematic study on the influence of temperature between 5 °C and 45 °C on the motion of a single bubble of practically constant size (equivalent radius 0.74 ± 0.01 mm) rising in a clean water and n-pentanol solution of different concentrations. The bubble velocity was measured by a camera, an ultrasonic sensor reproduced in numerical simulations. Results obtained by image analysis (camera) were compared to the data measured by an ultrasonic sensor to reveal the similar scientific potential of the latter. It is shown that temperature has a significant effect on the velocity of the rising bubble. In pure liquid, this effect is caused only by modifying the physicochemical properties of the water phase, not by changing the hydrodynamic boundary conditions at the bubble surface. In the case of the solutions with surface-active substances, the temperature-change kinetics of the dynamic adsorption layer formation facilitate the immobilization of the liquid/gas interface. Full article
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Article
Substitution of Cement with Granulated Blast Furnace Slag in Cemented Paste Backfill: Evaluation of Technical and Chemical Properties
Minerals 2021, 11(10), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11101068 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1047
Abstract
Cemented paste backfill (CPB) offers an environmentally sustainable way to utilize mine tailings, one of the largest waste streams in the world. CPB is a support and filler material used in underground mine cavities, which consists of mine tailings, water, and binder material [...] Read more.
Cemented paste backfill (CPB) offers an environmentally sustainable way to utilize mine tailings, one of the largest waste streams in the world. CPB is a support and filler material used in underground mine cavities, which consists of mine tailings, water, and binder material that usually is cement. Replacing cement with secondary raw materials like granulated blast-furnace slag reduces the total CO2 emissions and strengthens the internal microstructure of the CPB. This study characterizes the total- and soluble contents of CPB starting materials and five CPB specimens containing different levels of slag substitution. In addition, phase composition (mineral liberation analysis, MLA) and internal structure (X-ray tomography) of five CPB specimens is documented, and measurements of compressive strength are used to evaluate their suitability as backfill material. Mine tailings and CPB specimens used in this study are rich in sulphates and arsenic, but low in sulphides. Stronger As leaching of ground CPB specimens compared with ground mine tailings is related to the elevating pore water pH during the cement hydration. The hydration product ettringite is found in all CPB specimens and its content is the lowest in the slag containing specimens. X-ray tomography revealed vertically differentiated density structures in the CPB specimens. The lower parts of all specimens are denser in comparison with the upper parts, which is probably due to the compaction of the solid particles at the base. The compressive strength test results indicate that partial substitution of cement with slag improves the strength of the CPB. The total replacement of cement with slag reduces the early strength but gives excellent strength and lower porosity over longer time intervals. The results of the study can be utilized in developing more durable and environmentally responsible CPB recipes for gold mines of similar mineral composition and gold extraction method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Backfilling Materials for Underground Mining, Volume II)
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Article
Monitoring of Lithium Contents in Lithium Ores and Concentrate-Assessment Using X-ray Diffraction (XRD)
Minerals 2021, 11(10), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11101058 - 28 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1142
Abstract
Lithium plays an increasing role in battery applications, but is also used in ceramics and other chemical applications. Therefore, a higher demand can be expected for the coming years. Lithium occurs in nature mainly in different mineralizations but also in large salt lakes [...] Read more.
Lithium plays an increasing role in battery applications, but is also used in ceramics and other chemical applications. Therefore, a higher demand can be expected for the coming years. Lithium occurs in nature mainly in different mineralizations but also in large salt lakes in dry areas. As lithium cannot normally be analyzed using XRF-techniques (XRF = X-ray Fluorescence), the element must be analyzed by time consuming wet chemical treatment techniques. This paper concentrates on XRD techniques for the quantitative analysis of lithium minerals and the resulting recalculation using additional statistical methods of the lithium contents. Many lithium containing ores and concentrates are rather simple in mineralogical composition and are often based on binary mineral assemblages. Using these compositions in binary and ternary mixtures of lithium minerals, such as spodumene, amblygonite, lepidolite, zinnwaldite, petalite and triphylite, a quantification of mineral content can be made. The recalculation of lithium content from quantitative mineralogical analysis leads to a fast and reliable lithium determination in the ores and concentrates. The techniques used for the characterization were quantitative mineralogy by the Rietveld method for determining the quantitative mineral compositions and statistical calculations using additional methods such as partial least square regression (PLSR) and cluster analysis methods to predict additional parameters, like quality, of the samples. The statistical calculations and calibration techniques makes it especially possible to quantify reliable and fast. Samples and concentrates from different lithium deposits and occurrences around the world were used for these investigations. Using the proposed XRD method, detection limits of less than 1% of mineral and, therefore down to 0.1% lithium oxide, can be reached. Case studies from a hard rock lithium deposit will demonstrate the value of mineralogical monitoring during mining and the different processing steps. Additional, more complex considerations for the analysis of lithium samples from salt lake brines are included and will be discussed. Full article
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Article
The Behaviour of Rare Earth Elements from South African Coal Fly Ash during Enrichment Processes: Wet, Magnetic Separation and Zeolitisation
Minerals 2021, 11(9), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11090950 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1440
Abstract
Rare earth elements (REEs) are essential raw materials in a variety of industries including clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles and wind turbines. This places an ever-increasing demand on global rare earth element production. Coal fly ash (CFA) possesses appreciable levels of [...] Read more.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are essential raw materials in a variety of industries including clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles and wind turbines. This places an ever-increasing demand on global rare earth element production. Coal fly ash (CFA) possesses appreciable levels of REEs. CFA, a waste by-product of coal combustion, is therefore a readily available source of REEs that does not require mining. CFA valorisation to zeolites has been achieved via various synthesis pathways. This study aimed to evaluate one such pathway by monitoring how REEs partition during CFA processing by the wet, magnetic separation process and zeolitisation. South African CFA was subjected to wet, magnetic separation and subsequent zeolitisation of the nonmagnetic fraction (NMF); solid products were characterised by XRD, SEM, XRF and LA-ICP-MS. The wet, magnetic separation process resulted in the partitioning of a specific set of transition metals (such as Fe, Mn, Cr, V, Ni, Zn, Cu, Co and Mo) into the magnetic fraction (MF) of CFA, while REEs partitioned into the NMF with a total REE content of 530.2 ppm; thus, the matrix elements of CFA were extracted with ease. Zeolitisation resulted in a solid zeolite product (hydroxysodalite) with a total REE content of 537.6 ppm. The process of zeolitisation also resulted in the selective enrichment of Ce (259.1 ppm) into the solid zeolite product (hydroxysodalite), while other REEs were largely partitioned into the liquid phase. CFA valorisation by wet, magnetic separation and zeolitisation therefore allowed for the partitioning of REEs into various extraction products while recovering the matrix elements of CFA such as Fe, Si and Al. The findings of this study highlight the geopolitical importance of REEs in terms of the development of alternative processes for REE recovery from waste and alternative sources, which may potentially give countries that employ and develop the technology a key advantage in the production of REEs for the global market. Full article
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Article
The Temperature of Halite Crystallization in the Badenian Saline Basins, in the Context of Paleoclimate Reconstruction of the Carpathian Area
Minerals 2021, 11(8), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11080831 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
Currently, fluid inclusions in halite have been frequently studied for the purpose of paleoclimate reconstruction. For example, to determine the air temperature in the Middle Miocene (Badenian), we examine single-phase primary fluid inclusions of the bottom halites (chevron and full-faceted) and near-surface (cumulate) [...] Read more.
Currently, fluid inclusions in halite have been frequently studied for the purpose of paleoclimate reconstruction. For example, to determine the air temperature in the Middle Miocene (Badenian), we examine single-phase primary fluid inclusions of the bottom halites (chevron and full-faceted) and near-surface (cumulate) halites collected from the salt-bearing deposits of the Carpathian region. Our analyses showed that the temperatures of near-bottom brines varied in ranges from 19.5 to 22.0 °C and 24.0 to 26.0 °C, while the temperatures of the surface brines ranged from 34.0 to 36.0 °C. Based on these data, such as an earlier study of lithology and sedimentary structures of the Badenian rock salts, the crystallization of bottom halite developed in the basin from concentrated and cooled near-surface brines of about 30 m depth. Our results comply with the data on the temperature distribution in the modern Dead Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry of Evaporites)
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Article
Investigation of Lateral Confinement, Roller Aspect Ratio and Wear Condition on HPGR Performance Using DEM-MBD-PRM Simulations
Minerals 2021, 11(8), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11080801 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
It has been known that the performance of high-pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) varies as a function of the method used to laterally confine the rolls, their diameter/length (aspect) ratio as well as their condition, if new or worn. However, quantifying these effects through [...] Read more.
It has been known that the performance of high-pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) varies as a function of the method used to laterally confine the rolls, their diameter/length (aspect) ratio as well as their condition, if new or worn. However, quantifying these effects through direct experimentation in machines with reasonably large dimensions is not straightforward, given the challenge, among others, of guaranteeing that the feed material remains unchanged. The present work couples the discrete element method (DEM) to multibody dynamics (MBD) and a novel particle replacement model (PRM) to simulate the performance of a pilot-scale HPGR grinding pellet feed. It shows that rotating side plates, in particular when fitted with studs, will result in more uniform forces along the bed, which also translates in a more constant product size along the rolls as well as higher throughput. It also shows that the edge effect is not affected by roll length, leading to substantially larger proportional edge regions for high-aspect ratio rolls. On the other hand, the product from the center region of such rolls was found to be finer when pressed at identical specific forces. Finally, rolls were found to have higher throughput, but generate a coarser product when worn following the commonly observed trapezoidal profile. The approach often used in industry to compensate for roller wear is to increase the specific force and roll speed. It has been demonstrated to be effective in maintaining product fineness and throughput, as long as the minimum safety gap is not reached. Full article
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Organic and Isotopic Geochemistry of Evaporites and Shales of the Santana Group (Araripe Basin, Brazil): Clues on the Evolution of Depositional Systems and Global Correlation during the Lower Cretaceous
Minerals 2021, 11(8), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11080795 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
Even being the more studied of the interior basins of Northeast Brazil, the Araripe Basin still lacks research in organic geochemistry designed to support interpretations of depositional systems and conditions of formation. This work aims to investigate the organic behavior of evaporites and [...] Read more.
Even being the more studied of the interior basins of Northeast Brazil, the Araripe Basin still lacks research in organic geochemistry designed to support interpretations of depositional systems and conditions of formation. This work aims to investigate the organic behavior of evaporites and shales from the Santana Group (Lower Cretaceous), as well as discuss their role in the evolution of its depositional systems. A total of 23 samples, 17 shales and six evaporites, were collected in outcrops and quarries. Analyses of Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Total Sulfur (TS), Rock Eval pyrolysis, and the δ34S isotope ratio were performed. The TOC results revealed high organic content for seven intervals, of which only five had high TS content. From the Rock Eval pyrolysis, dominance of the Type I kerogen was verified, thus corresponding to the best type of organic matter (mainly algal) for the generation of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. The Lower Cretaceous (probably Aptian) response to the progressive evolution in redox conditions is linked to a remarked Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE-1a). The TOC/TS ratio suggests variable palaeosalinity, indicating most of the shales were formed under brackish waters with saline influence, yet tending to increase the salinity upwards where hypersaline conditions dominate in the Ipubi Formation. The isotope data also suggest the occurrence of marine ingressions in the depositional systems even prior to the well-documented event of the Romualdo Formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry of Evaporites)
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Tracking and Evaluating the Concentrations of Natural Radioactivity According to Chemical Composition in the Precambrian and Mesozoic Granitic Rocks in the Jangsu-gun Area, Central Southwestern South Korea
Minerals 2021, 11(7), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070684 - 25 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
The Jangsu-gun area in the central Southwestern South Korea consists of a well-preserved Middle Paleoproterozoic gneissic basement, as well as the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic granitic rocks. Here, we present the detailed zircon U-Pb age data and whole-rock chemical compositions, including radioactive [...] Read more.
The Jangsu-gun area in the central Southwestern South Korea consists of a well-preserved Middle Paleoproterozoic gneissic basement, as well as the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic granitic rocks. Here, we present the detailed zircon U-Pb age data and whole-rock chemical compositions, including radioactive elements (e.g., U and Th) and activity concentrations of 226Ra, 232Th and 40K for the Middle Paleoproterozoic gneisses, and Late Triassic and Early Jurassic granitic rocks of the Jangsu-gun area. The Middle Paleoproterozoic gneissic basement, and the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic granitic rocks have ages of ca. 1988 Ma and 1824 Ma, 230 Ma and 187–189 Ma, respectively. Geochemically, the Middle Paleoproterozoic orthogneiss, Late Triassic granites and Early Jurassic granitic rocks show typical arc-related metaluminous to weakly peraluminous fractionated granite features with ASI (aluminum saturation index) values of 0.92 to 1.40. The mean values of U (ppm) and Th (ppm) of the Middle Paleoproterozoic orthogneisses (6.4 and 20.5, respectively), Late Triassic granites (1.5 and 10.9), and Early Jurassic granites (3.5 and 16.5) were similar to those (5 and 15) of the granitic rocks in the Earth’s crust. The mean 226Ra (Bq/kg), 232Th (Bq/kg), and 40K (Bq/kg) activity concentrations and radioactivity concentration index (RCI) are 62, 71, 1,214 and 0.96 for the Middle Paleoproterozoic orthogneisses; 16, 39, 1,614 and 0.78 for the Late Triassic granites; and 56, 70, 1031 and 0.88 for the Early Jurassic granitic rocks, respectively. The U, Th, 226Ra, 232Th, 40K, and RCI of the Middle Paleoproterozoic biotite paragneisses are similar to those of the Middle Paleoproterozoic orthogneisses. The trend of 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K activity concentrations, and the composition of U and Th from the Precambrian and Mesozoic rocks in the Jangsu-gun area indicates that monazite is the main accessory mineral controlling the concentration of natural radioactivity. Based on a detailed examination of the natural radioactivity in the rocks of the Jangsu-gun area, the Middle Paleoproterozoic orthogneisses and paragneisses, and Late Triassic and Early Jurassic granitic rocks show average high mean RCI values of 0.88−0.96, such that 32% of the rocks exceeded the recommended value of one in the guidelines for the RCI in South Korea. Especially, the RCI is closely related to the radon levels in the rocks. As a result, the Jangsu-gun area in South Korea is a relatively high radiological risk area, which exhibits higher indoor radon levels in the residences, compared with residences in the other areas in South Korea. Full article
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Article
Fluid and Solid Inclusions in Host Minerals of Permian Pegmatites from Koralpe (Austria): Deciphering the Permian Fluid Evolution during Pegmatite Formation
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060638 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 778
Abstract
Fluid inclusions (FIs) and associated solids in host minerals garnet, tourmaline, spodumene, and quartz from six pegmatite fields of Permian origin at Koralpe (Eastern Alps) have been investigated. Although pegmatites suffered intense Eoalpine high-pressure metamorphic overprint during the Cretaceous period, the studied samples [...] Read more.
Fluid inclusions (FIs) and associated solids in host minerals garnet, tourmaline, spodumene, and quartz from six pegmatite fields of Permian origin at Koralpe (Eastern Alps) have been investigated. Although pegmatites suffered intense Eoalpine high-pressure metamorphic overprint during the Cretaceous period, the studied samples originate from rock sections with well-preserved Permian magmatic textures. Magmatic low-saline aqueous FIs in garnet domains entrapped as part of an unmixed fluid together with primary N2-bearing FIs that originate from a host rock-derived CO2-N2 dominated high-grade metamorphic fluid. This CO2-N2 fluid is entrapped as primary FIs in garnet, tourmaline, and quartz. During host mineral crystallization, fluid mixing between the magmatic and the metamorphic fluid at the solvus formed CO2-N2-H2O–rich FIs of various compositional degrees that are preserved as pseudo-secondary inclusions in tourmaline, quartz, and as primary inclusions in spodumene. Intense fluid modification processes by in-situ host mineral–fluid reactions formed a high amount of crystal-rich inclusions in spodumene but also in garnet. The distribution of different types of FIs enables a chronology of pegmatite host mineral growth (garnet-tourmaline/quartz-spodumene) and their fluid chemistry is considered as having exsolved from the pegmatite parent melt together with the metamorphic fluid from the pegmatite host rocks. Minimum conditions for pegmatite crystallization of ca. 4.5–5.5 kbar at 650–750 °C have been constrained by primary FIs in tourmaline that, unlike to FIs in garnet, quartz, and spodumene, have not been affected by post-entrapment modifications. Late high-saline aqueous FIs, only preserved in the recrystallized quartz matrix, are related to a post-pegmatite stage during Cretaceous Eoalpine metamorphism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluid, Melt and Solid Inclusions as a Petrogenetic Indicators)
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Article
Performance Evaluation of Fe-Al Bimetallic Particles for the Removal of Potentially Toxic Elements from Combined Acid Mine Drainage-Effluents from Refractory Gold Ore Processing
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 590; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060590 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1593
Abstract
Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a serious environmental issue associated with mining due to its acidic pH and potentially toxic elements (PTE) content. This study investigated the performance of the Fe-Al bimetallic particles for the treatment of combined AMD-gold processing effluents. Batch experiments [...] Read more.
Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a serious environmental issue associated with mining due to its acidic pH and potentially toxic elements (PTE) content. This study investigated the performance of the Fe-Al bimetallic particles for the treatment of combined AMD-gold processing effluents. Batch experiments were conducted in order to eliminate potentially toxic elements (including Hg, As, Cu, Pb, Ni, Zn, and Mn) from a simulated waste solution at various bimetal dosages (5, 10, and 20 g/L) and time intervals (0 to 90 min). The findings show that metal ions with greater electrode potentials than Fe and Al have higher affinities for electrons released from the bimetal. Therefore, a high removal (>95%) was obtained for Hg, As, Cu, and Pb using 20 g/L bimetal in 90 min. Higher uptakes of Hg, As, Cu, and Pb than Ni, Zn, and Mn also suggest that electrochemical reduction and adsorption by Fe-Al (oxy) hydroxides as the primary and secondary removal mechanisms, respectively. The total Al3+ dissolution in the experiments with a higher bimetal content (10 and 20 g/L) were insignificant, while a high release of Fe ions was recorded for various bimetal dosages. Although the secondary Fe pollution can be considered as a drawback of using the Fe-Al bimetal, this issue can be tackled by a simple neutralization and Fe precipitation process. A rapid increase in the solution pH (initial pH 2 to >5 in 90 min) was also observed, which means that bimetallic particles can act as a neutralizing agent in AMD treatment system and promote the precipitation of the dissolved metals. The presence of chloride ions in the system may cause akaganeite formation, which has shown a high removal capacity for PTE. Moreover, nitrate ions may affect the process by competing for the released electrons from the bimetal owing to their higher electrode potential than the metals. Finally, the Fe-Al bimetallic material showed promising results for AMD remediation by electrochemical reduction of PTE content, as well as acid-neutralization/metal precipitation. Full article
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Article
Origin of the Middle Paleoproterozoic Tiksheozero Ultramafic-Alkaline-Carbonatite Complex, NE Fennoscandian Shield: Evidence from Geochemical and Isotope Sr-Nd-Hf-Pb-Os Data
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060570 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
This article reports new geochemical, Sr-Nd-Hf-Pb and Re-Os data on the rocks of the Middle Paleoproterozoic (1.99 Ga) Tiksheozero ultramafic-alkaline-carbonatite complex confined to the northeastern margin of the Karelian Craton. We focus on the poorly studied silicate rocks. Based on petrographic and geochemical [...] Read more.
This article reports new geochemical, Sr-Nd-Hf-Pb and Re-Os data on the rocks of the Middle Paleoproterozoic (1.99 Ga) Tiksheozero ultramafic-alkaline-carbonatite complex confined to the northeastern margin of the Karelian Craton. We focus on the poorly studied silicate rocks. Based on petrographic and geochemical research, the silicate rocks are subdivided into two groups: an ultramafic-mafic series depleted in REE, and other incompatible elements and an alkaline series enriched in these elements. Isotope studies showed that all rocks have juvenile isotope signatures and were likely derived from a primitive OIB-type mantle source with possible contributions of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM). Insignificant crustal contamination is recorded by Pb and Os isotopic compositions. The incompatible element enrichment in the alkaline rocks and depletion in ultramafic-mafic rocks of the mildly alkaline series with allowance for insignificant crustal contamination confirm their derivation from different primary melts. However, a narrow range of Sr, Nd, Hf, and Pb isotope compositions and compact clusters in 207Pb/204Pb-206Pb/204Pb, Nd-87Sr/86Sr and Hf-Nd isotope diagrams indicate their origination from a common mantle source. A model of subsequent two-stage melting is being most consistent with the geochemical data for this complex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Petrogenesis and Geochemistry in Alkaline Ultramafic Rocks)
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Article
Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Modeling of a Covered Waste Rock Pile in a Permafrost Region
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060565 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 925
Abstract
In order to reduce contaminant mass loadings, thermal cover systems may be incorporated in the design of waste rock piles located in regions of continuous permafrost. In this study, reactive transport modeling was used to improve the understanding of coupled thermo-hydrological and chemical [...] Read more.
In order to reduce contaminant mass loadings, thermal cover systems may be incorporated in the design of waste rock piles located in regions of continuous permafrost. In this study, reactive transport modeling was used to improve the understanding of coupled thermo-hydrological and chemical processes controlling the evolution of a covered waste rock pile located in Northern Canada. Material properties from previous field and laboratory tests were incorporated into the model to constrain the simulations. Good agreement between simulated and observational temperature data indicates that the model is capable of capturing the coupled thermo-hydrological processes occurring within the pile. Simulations were also useful for forecasting the pile’s long-term evolution with an emphasis on water flow and heat transport mechanisms, but also including geochemical weathering processes and sulfate mass loadings as an indicator for the release of contaminated drainage. An uncertainty analysis was carried out to address different scenarios of the cover’s performance as a function of the applied infiltration rate, accounting for the impacts of evaporation, runoff, and snow ablation. The model results indicate that the cover performance is insensitive to the magnitude of recharge rates, except for limited changes of the flow regime in the shallow active layer. The model was expanded by performing an additional sensitivity analysis to assess the role of cover thicknesses. The simulated results reveal that a cover design with an appropriate thickness can effectively minimize mass loadings in drainage by maintaining the active layer completely within the cover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Geochemistry in the Mining Environment)
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Article
Statherian (ca. 1714–1680 Ma) Extension-Related Magmatism and Deformation in the Southwestern Korean Peninsula and Its Geological Significance: Constraints from the Petrological, Structural, Geochemical and Geochronological Studies of Newly Identified Granitoids
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060557 - 24 May 2021
Viewed by 818
Abstract
In this study, petrological, structural, geochemical, and geochronological analyses of the Statherian alkali feldspar granite and porphyritic alkali feldspar granite in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula were conducted to examine petrogenesis of the granitoids and their tectonic setting. Zircon U-Pb dating [...] Read more.
In this study, petrological, structural, geochemical, and geochronological analyses of the Statherian alkali feldspar granite and porphyritic alkali feldspar granite in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula were conducted to examine petrogenesis of the granitoids and their tectonic setting. Zircon U-Pb dating revealed that the two granites formed around 1.71 Ga and 1.70–1.68 Ga, respectively. The results of the geochemical analyses showed that both of the granites have a high content of K2O, Nb, Ta, and Y, as well as high FeOt/MgO and Ga/Al ratios. Both granites have alkali-calcic characteristics with a ferroan composition, indicating an A-type affinity. Zircon Lu-Hf isotopic compositions yielded negative εHf(t) values (−3.5 to −10.6), indicating a derivation from ancient crustal materials. Both granite types underwent ductile deformation and exhibited a dextral sense of shear with a minor extension component. Based on field relationships and zircon U-Pb dating, it was considered that the deformation event postdated the emplacement of the alkali feldspar granite and terminated soon after the emplacement of the porphyritic alkali feldspar granite in an extensional setting. These data indicated that there were extension-related magmatic activities accompanying ductile deformation in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula during 1.71–1.68 Ga. The Statherian extension-related events are well correlated with those in the midwestern part of the Korean and eastern parts of the North China Craton. Full article
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Article
Investigation on Dynamical Mechanics, Energy Dissipation, and Microstructural Characteristics of Cemented Tailings Backfill under SHPB Tests
Minerals 2021, 11(5), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11050542 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
As mining depth increases, the backfill mining method is more and more widely used in underground mines. The dynamic load generated by the blasting can affect the stability of the cemented tailings backfill (CTB). The CTB samples were prepared to conduct a test [...] Read more.
As mining depth increases, the backfill mining method is more and more widely used in underground mines. The dynamic load generated by the blasting can affect the stability of the cemented tailings backfill (CTB). The CTB samples were prepared to conduct a test of the split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) to investigate the dynamic disturbance of CTB. The present paper discusses dynamical mechanics, energy dissipation, and microstructure analysis of CTB. Micro-computer tomography (micro-CT) scanning of CTB samples after the SHPB test was performed to analyze the evolution of internal cracks. The experimental results showed that when the average strain rate (ASR) increased from 30 to 98 s−1, the dynamic uniaxial compression strength (DUCS) of the CTB showed a trend of first increasing and decreasing with the increase in ASR. The dynamic stress–strain pre-peak curve of CTB directly enters the linear elastic stage. As ASR increases, the absorbed energy of the CTB shows a trend of first increasing and then decreasing. Moreover, according to the micro-CT scanning results, the crack area of CTB accounts for about 16% of the sample near the incident bar and about 1% near the transmitted bar. The crack area ratio is exponentially related to the specimen height. These findings can provide reasonable dynamical CTB strength data selection for underground pillar mining. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Backfilling Materials for Underground Mining, Volume II)
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Article
Origin of the Moroccan Touissit-Bou Beker and Jbel Bou Dahar Supergene Non-Sulfide Biomineralization and Its Relevance to Microbiological Activity, Late Miocene Uplift and Climate Changes
Minerals 2021, 11(4), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11040401 - 11 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1494
Abstract
Through integration of Pb-Zn ± Cu non-sulfide mineralogy, texture, and stable isotope (C, O, S) geochemistry, the world-class Touissit- Bou Beker and Jbel Bou Dahar Mississippi Valley-type districts of the Moroccan Atlasic system have been investigated in order to gain insights into the [...] Read more.
Through integration of Pb-Zn ± Cu non-sulfide mineralogy, texture, and stable isotope (C, O, S) geochemistry, the world-class Touissit- Bou Beker and Jbel Bou Dahar Mississippi Valley-type districts of the Moroccan Atlasic system have been investigated in order to gain insights into the origin and processes that contributed to the formation of the base metal non-sulfide mineralization. In both districts, direct replacement (“red calamine”) and wallrock replacement (“white calamine”) ores are observed. Based on the mineral assemblages, ore textures, and crosscutting relations, three distinct mineralizing stages are recognized. The earliest, pre-non-sulfide gossanous stage was a prerequisite for the following supergene stages and constituted the driving force that ultimately promoted the leaching of most base metals such as Zn and Cu and alkalis from their rock sources. The following two stages, referred to as the main supergene “red calamine” and late “white calamine” ore stages, generated the bulk of mineable “calamine” ores in the Touissit-Bou Beker and Jbel Bou Dahar districts. Stable isotope compositions (δ13CV-PDB, δ18OV-SMOW, δ34SCDT) support a three-stage model whereby metals were released by supergene acidic fluids and then precipitated by bacteria and archaea-mediated metal-rich meteoric fluids due to a decrease in temperature and/or increase of fO2. Oxygen isotope thermometry indicates decreasing precipitation temperatures with advancing paragenetic sequence from 33° to 18 °C, with wet to semi-arid to arid climatic conditions. The close spatial relationships between coexisting sulfide and non-sulfide mineralization along with stable isotope constraints suggest that the oxidation of sulfides occurred concurrently after the main stage of the Alpine orogeny between 15 Ma and the present. More importantly, the current data show for the first time the involvement of biologically controlled activity as the major driving process that triggered both oxidation and deposition of supergene mineralization at Jbel Bou Dahar and Touissit-Bou Beker districts. Conclusions drawn from this study therefore have implications for supergene Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) -derived non-sulfide deposits worldwide and account for the prominent role of biological processes in the genesis of this category of ore deposits. Full article
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Article
Industrial Vertical Stirred Mills Screw Liner Wear Profile Compared to Discrete Element Method Simulations
Minerals 2021, 11(4), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11040397 - 10 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1430
Abstract
Vertical stirred mills have been widely applied in the minerals industry, due to its greater efficiency in comparison with conventional tumbling mills. In this context, the agitator liner wear plays an important role in maintenance planning and operational costs. In this paper, we [...] Read more.
Vertical stirred mills have been widely applied in the minerals industry, due to its greater efficiency in comparison with conventional tumbling mills. In this context, the agitator liner wear plays an important role in maintenance planning and operational costs. In this paper, we use the discrete element method (DEM) wear simulation to evaluate the screw liner wear. Three different mill rotational velocities are evaluated in the simulation, according to different scale-up procedures. The wear profile, wear measurement, power consumption, and particle contact information are used for obtaining a better understanding of the wear behavior and its effects on grinding mechanisms. Data from a vertical stirred mill screw liner wear measurement obtained in a full-scale mill are used to correlate with simulation results. The results indicate a relative agreement with industrial measurement in most of the liner lifecycle, when using a proper mill velocity scale-up. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comminution in the Minerals Industry)
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Article
Automated Gold Grain Counting. Part 2: What a Gold Grain Size and Shape Can Tell!
Minerals 2021, 11(4), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11040379 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
Glacial drift exploration methods are well established and widely used by mineral industry exploring for blind deposit in northern territories, and rely on the dispersion of mineral or chemical signal in sediments derived from an eroded mineralized source. Gold grains themselves are the [...] Read more.
Glacial drift exploration methods are well established and widely used by mineral industry exploring for blind deposit in northern territories, and rely on the dispersion of mineral or chemical signal in sediments derived from an eroded mineralized source. Gold grains themselves are the prime indicator minerals to be used for the detection of blind gold deposits. Surprisingly, very little attention has been dedicated to the information that size and shape of gold grain can provide, other than a simple shape classification based on modification affecting the grains that are induced in the course of sediment transport. With the advent of automated scanning electron microscope (SEM)-based gold grain detection, high magnification backscattered electron images of each grain are routinely acquired, which can be used for accurate size measurement and shape analysis. A library with 88,613 gold grain images has been accumulated from various glacial sediment surveys on the Canadian Shield and used to detect trends in grains size and shape. A series of conclusions are drawn: (1) grain size distribution is consistent among various surveys and areas, (2) there is no measurable fine-grained gold loss due to natural elutriation in ablation or reworked till, or during the course of reverse circulation drilling, (3) there is no grain size sorting during glacial transport, severing small grains from large ones, (4) shape modification induced by transport is highly dependent on grain size and original shapes, and (5) the use of grain shape inherited from neighboring minerals in the source rocks is a useful feature when assessing deposit types and developing exploration strategies. Full article
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Article
Recovering Magnetization of Rock Formations by Jointly Inverting Airborne Gravity Gradiometry and Total Magnetic Intensity Data
Minerals 2021, 11(4), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11040366 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
Conventional 3D magnetic inversion methods are based on the assumption that there is no remanent magnetization, and the inversion is run for magnetic susceptibility only. This approach is well-suited to targeting mineralization; however, it ignores the situation where the direction of magnetization of [...] Read more.
Conventional 3D magnetic inversion methods are based on the assumption that there is no remanent magnetization, and the inversion is run for magnetic susceptibility only. This approach is well-suited to targeting mineralization; however, it ignores the situation where the direction of magnetization of the rock formations is different from the direction of the induced magnetic field. We present a novel method of recovering a spatial distribution of magnetization vector within the rock formation based on joint inversion of airborne gravity gradiometry (AGG) and total magnetic intensity (TMI) data for a shared earth model. Increasing the number of inversion parameters (the scalar components of magnetization vector) results in a higher degree of non-uniqueness of the inverse problem. This increase of non-uniqueness rate can be remedied by joint inversion based on (1) Gramian constraints or (2) joint focusing stabilizers. The Gramian constraints enforce shared earth structure through a correlation of the model gradients. The joint focusing stabilizers also enforce the structural similarity and are implemented using minimum support or minimum gradient support approaches. Both novel approaches are applied to the interpretation of the airborne data collected over the Thunderbird V-Ti-Fe deposit in Ontario, Canada. By combining the complementary AGG and TMI data, we generate jointly inverted shared earth models that provide a congruent image of the rock formations hosting the mineral deposit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geophysics for Mineral Exploration)
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Article
Impact of Grinding of Printed Circuit Boards on the Efficiency of Metal Recovery by Means of Electrostatic Separation
Minerals 2021, 11(3), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11030281 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 958
Abstract
This paper analyses the impact of the method of grinding printed circuit boards (PCBs) in a knife mill on the efficiency and purity of products obtained during electrostatic separation. The separated metals and plastics and ceramics can be used as secondary raw materials. [...] Read more.
This paper analyses the impact of the method of grinding printed circuit boards (PCBs) in a knife mill on the efficiency and purity of products obtained during electrostatic separation. The separated metals and plastics and ceramics can be used as secondary raw materials. This is in line with the principle of circular economy. Three different screen perforations were used in the mill to obtain different sizes of ground grains. Moreover, the effect of cooling the feed to cryogenic temperature on the final products of separation was investigated. The level of contamination of the concentrate, intermediate, and waste obtained as a result of the application of fixed, determined electrostatic separation parameters was assessed using ICP-AES, SEM–EDS, XRD, and microscopic analysis as well as specific density. The yields of grain classes obtained from grinding in a knife mill were tested through sieve analysis and by using a particle size analyser. The test results indicate that using a knife mill with a 1 mm screen perforation along with cooling the feed to cryogenic temperature significantly improves the efficiency of the process. The grinding products were characterised by the highest release level of the useful substance—metals in the free state. The purity of the concentrate and waste obtained from electrostatic separation was satisfactory, and the content of the intermediate, in which conglomerates of solid metal–plastic connections were present, was very low. The yield of concentrate and waste amounted to 26.2% and 71.0%, respectively. Their purity, reflected in the content of the identified metals (valuable metals), was at the level of 93.3% and 0.5%, respectively. In order to achieve effective recovery of metals from PCBs by means of electrostatic separation, one should strive to obtain a feed composed of grains <1000 μm and, optimally, <800 μm. Full article
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Article
Twinning of Tetrahedrite—OD Approach
Minerals 2021, 11(2), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11020170 - 07 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
The common twinning of tetrahedrite and tennantite can be described as an order–disorder (OD) phenomenon. The unit OD layer is a one-tetrahedron-thick (111) layer composed of six-member rings of tetrahedra, with gaps between them filled with Sb(As) coordination pyramids and triangular-coordinated (Cu, Ag). [...] Read more.
The common twinning of tetrahedrite and tennantite can be described as an order–disorder (OD) phenomenon. The unit OD layer is a one-tetrahedron-thick (111) layer composed of six-member rings of tetrahedra, with gaps between them filled with Sb(As) coordination pyramids and triangular-coordinated (Cu, Ag). The stacking sequence of six-member rings is ABCABC, which can also be expressed as a sequence of three consecutive tetrahedron configurations, named α, β, and γ. When the orientation of component tetrahedra is uniform, the α, β, γ, α sequence builds the familiar cage structure of tetrahedrite. However, when the tetrahedra of the β layer are rotated by 180° against those in the underlying α configurations and/or when a rotated α configuration follows after the β configuration (instead of γ), twinning is generated. If repeated, this could generate the ABAB sequence which would modify the structure considerably. If the rest of the structure grows as a regular cubic tetrahedrite structure, the single occurrence of the described defect sequences creates a twin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modularity and Twinning in Mineral Crystal Structures)
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Article
Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Deep-Sea Sediments from the Ultraslow-Spreading Southwest Indian Ridge: Implications for Hydrothermal Input and Igneous Host Rock
Minerals 2021, 11(2), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11020138 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1703
Abstract
Detailed mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of typical surface sediments and hydrothermal deposits collected from the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) were studied by high-resolution XRD, SEM-EDS, XRF, and ICP-MS. The SWIR marine samples can be generally classified into two main categories: surface sediment [...] Read more.
Detailed mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of typical surface sediments and hydrothermal deposits collected from the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) were studied by high-resolution XRD, SEM-EDS, XRF, and ICP-MS. The SWIR marine samples can be generally classified into two main categories: surface sediment (biogenic, volcanic) and hydrothermal-derived deposit; moreover, the surface sediment can be further classified into metalliferous and non-metalliferous based on the metalliferous sediment index (MSI). The chemical composition of biogenic sediment (mainly biogenic calcite) was characterized by elevated contents of Ca, Ba, Rb, Sr, Th, and light rare earth elements (LREE), while volcanic sediment (mainly volcanogenic debris) was relatively enriched in Mn, Mg, Al, Si, Ni, Cr, and high field strength elements (HFSEs). By contrast, the hydrothermal-derived deposit (mainly pyrite-marcasite, chalcopyrite-isocubanite, and low-temperature cherts) contained significantly higher contents of Fe, Cu, Zn, Pb, Mn, Co, Mo, Ag, and U. In addition, the metalliferous surface sediment contained a higher content of Cu, Mn, Fe, Co, Mo, Ba, and As. Compared with their different host (source) rock, the basalt-hosted marine sediments contained higher contents of Ti–Al–Zr–Sc–Hf and/or Mo–Ba–Ag; In contrast, the peridotite-hosted marine sediments were typically characterized by elevated concentrations of Mg–Cu–Ni–Cr and/or Co–Sn–Au. The differences in element enrichment and mineral composition between these sediment types were closely related to their sedimentary environments (e.g., near/far away from the vent sites) and inherited from their host (source) rock. Together with combinations of certain characteristic elements (such as Al–Fe–Mn and Si–Al–Mg), relict hydrothermal products, and diagnostic mineral tracers (e.g., nontronite, SiO2(bio), olivine, serpentine, talc, sepiolite, pyroxene, zeolite, etc.), it would be more effective to differentiate the host rock of deep-sea sediments and to detect a possible hydrothermal input. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genesis and Exploration for Submarine Sulphide Deposits)
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Article
Rare-Metal (In, Bi, Te, Se, Be) Mineralization of Skarn Ores in the Pitkäranta Mining District, Ladoga Karelia, Russia
Minerals 2021, 11(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11020124 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1022
Abstract
The results of the study of rare-metal (Bi, Te, Se. Be, In) mineralization of skarn deposits (Sn, Zn) in the Pitkäranta Mining District, genetically related to the Salmi anorthosite-rapakivi granite batholiths of Early Riphean age are reported. Minerals and their chemical composition were [...] Read more.
The results of the study of rare-metal (Bi, Te, Se. Be, In) mineralization of skarn deposits (Sn, Zn) in the Pitkäranta Mining District, genetically related to the Salmi anorthosite-rapakivi granite batholiths of Early Riphean age are reported. Minerals and their chemical composition were identified on the base of optical microscopy as well as electron microanalysis. The diversity of rare-metal ore mineralization (native metals, oxides, and hydroxides, carbonates, tellurides, selenides, sulfides, sulphosalts, borates, and silicates) in Pitkäranta Mining District ores is indicative of considerable variations in the physicochemical conditions of their formation controlled by the discrete-pulse-like supply of fluids. Bismuth, wittichenite, and matildite are the most common rare-metal minerals. Sulfosalts of the bismuthinite-aikinite series are represented only by its end-members. The absence of solid solution exsolution structures in sulfobismuthides suggests that they crystallized from hydrothermal solutions at low temperatures. Be (>10 minerals) and In (roquesite) minerals occur mainly in aposkarn greisens. Roquesite in Pitkäranta Mining District ores formed upon greisen alteration of skarns with In released upon the alteration of In-bearing solid sphalerite (Cu1+ In3+) ↔ (Zn2+, Fe2+) and chalcopyrite In3+ ↔ Fe3+ and 2Fe3+ ↔ (Fe2+, Zn2+) Sn4+ solutions. Sphalerite with an average In concentration of 2001 ppm, is a major In-bearing mineral in the ores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ore Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Rare Metal Deposits)
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Article
Fly Ash Utilisation in Mullite Fabrication: Development of Novel Percolated Mullite
Minerals 2021, 11(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11010084 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
Fly ash is an aluminosilicate and the major by-product from coal combustion in power stations; its increasing volumes are major economic and environmental concerns, particularly since it is one of the largest mineral resources based on current estimates. Mullite (3Al2O3 [...] Read more.
Fly ash is an aluminosilicate and the major by-product from coal combustion in power stations; its increasing volumes are major economic and environmental concerns, particularly since it is one of the largest mineral resources based on current estimates. Mullite (3Al2O3·2SiO2) is the only stable phase in the Al2O3-SiO2 system and is used in numerous applications owing to its high-temperature chemical and mechanical stabilities. Hence, fly ash offers a potential economical resource for mullite fabrication, which is confirmed by a review of the current literature. This review details the methodologies to utilise fly ash with different additives to fabricate what are described as porous interconnected mullite skeletons or dense mullite bodies of approximately stoichiometric compositions. However, studies of pure fly ash examined only high-Al2O3 forms and none of these works reported long-term, high-temperature, firing shrinkage data for these mullite bodies. In the present work, high-SiO2 fly ashes were used to fabricate percolated mullite, which is demonstrated by the absence of firing shrinkage upon long-term high-temperature soaking. The major glass component of the fly ash provides viscosities suitably high for shape retention but low enough for ionic diffusion and the minor mullite component provides the nucleating agent to grow mullite needles into a direct-bonded, single-crystal, continuous, needle network that prevents high-temperature deformation and isolates the residual glass in the triple points. These attributes confer outstanding long-term dimensional stability at temperatures exceeding 1500 °C, which is unprecedented for mullite-based compositions. Full article
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Article
A Novel Particle-Based Approach for Modeling a Wet Vertical Stirred Media Mill
Minerals 2021, 11(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11010055 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Modeling of wet stirred media mill processes is challenging since it requires the simultaneous modeling of the complex multiphysics in the interactions between grinding media, the moving internal agitator elements, and the grinding fluid. In the present study, a multiphysics model of an [...] Read more.
Modeling of wet stirred media mill processes is challenging since it requires the simultaneous modeling of the complex multiphysics in the interactions between grinding media, the moving internal agitator elements, and the grinding fluid. In the present study, a multiphysics model of an HIG5 pilot vertical stirred media mill with a nominal power of 7.5 kW is developed. The model is based on a particle-based coupled solver approach, where the grinding fluid is modeled with the particle finite element method (PFEM), the grinding media are modeled with the discrete element method (DEM), and the mill structure is modeled with the finite element method (FEM). The interactions between the different constituents are treated by loose (or weak) two-way couplings between the PFEM, DEM, and FEM models. Both water and a mineral slurry are used as grinding fluids, and they are modeled as Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, respectively. In the present work, a novel approach for transferring forces between grinding fluid and grinding media based on the Reynolds number is implemented. This force transfer is realized by specifying the drag coefficient as a function of the Reynolds number. The stirred media mill model is used to predict the mill power consumption, dynamics of both grinding fluid and grinding media, interparticle contacts of the grinding media, and the wear development on the mill structure. The numerical results obtained within the present study show good agreement with experimental measurements. Full article
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Article
Mineralogical and Geochemical Characterization of Gold Mining Tailings and Their Potential to Generate Acid Mine Drainage (Minas Gerais, Brazil)
Minerals 2021, 11(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11010039 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
For more than 30 years, sulfide gold ores were treated in metallurgic plants located in Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil, and accumulated in the Cocoruto tailings dam. Both flotation and leaching tailings from a deactivated circuit, as well as roasted and leaching tailings [...] Read more.
For more than 30 years, sulfide gold ores were treated in metallurgic plants located in Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil, and accumulated in the Cocoruto tailings dam. Both flotation and leaching tailings from a deactivated circuit, as well as roasted and leaching tailings from an ongoing plant, were studied for their acid mine drainage potential and elements’ mobility. Detailed characterization of both tailings types indicates the presence of fine-grain size material hosting substantial amounts of sulfides that exhibit distinct geochemical and mineralogical characteristics. The samples from the ongoing plant show high grades of Fe in the form of oxides, cyanide, and sulfates. Differently, samples from the old circuit shave higher average concentrations of Al (0.88%), Ca (2.4%), Mg (0.96%), and Mn (0.17%), present as silicates and carbonates. These samples also show relics of preserved sulfides, such as pyrite and pyrrhotite. Concentrations of Zn, Cu, Au, and As are higher in the tailings of the ongoing circuit, while Cr and Hg stand out in the tailings of the deactivated circuit. Although the obtained results show that the sulfide wastes do not tend to generate acid mine drainage, leaching tests indicate the possibility of mobilization of toxic elements, namely As and Mn in the old circuit, and Sb, As, Fe, Ni, and Se in the tailings of the plant that still works. This work highlights the need for proper management and control of tailing dams even in alkaline drainage environments such as the one of the Cocoruto dam. Furthermore, strong knowledge of the tailings’ dynamics in terms of geochemistry and mineralogy would be pivotal to support long-term decisions on wastes management and disposal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollutants in Acid Mine Drainage)
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Article
The Kinetics of Manganese Sorption on Ukrainian Tuff and Basalt—Order and Diffusion Models Analysis
Minerals 2020, 10(12), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10121065 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 905
Abstract
The study aimed to determine the nature of the kinetics of the manganese sorption process on Ukrainian tuff and basalt at different temperatures characteristic of the natural water environment. The scope of the research included manganese sorption kinetic test on natural mineral sorbents [...] Read more.
The study aimed to determine the nature of the kinetics of the manganese sorption process on Ukrainian tuff and basalt at different temperatures characteristic of the natural water environment. The scope of the research included manganese sorption kinetic test on natural mineral sorbents at temperatures of 10, 17.5 and 25 °C in slightly acidic conditions. Sorption (pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order and Elovich models) and diffusion kinetic models (liquid film diffusion and intraparticle diffusion) were used in the analysis of test results. The manganese sorption process on both tuff and basalt proceeded quickly. The dynamic equilibrium state of manganese sorption settled after 35 and 45 min on tuff and basalt respectively. Although the process took place in a slightly acidic environment and below pHPZC of the sorbents, possible electrostatic repulsion did not inhibit the removal of Mn. The Mn sorption on both materials followed the PSO kinetics model. Based on the diffusion kinetic models, it was determined that Mn sorption process on both materials was influenced by diffusion through the boundary layer and intraparticle diffusion. The differences in removal efficiency and rate of Mn sorption in the temperature range of 10–25 °C were not found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Sorption Capacity and Remediation Methods)
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Article
Controls on Associations of Clay Minerals in Phanerozoic Evaporite Formations: An Overview
Minerals 2020, 10(11), 974; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10110974 - 01 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 809
Abstract
Information on the associations of clay minerals in Upper Proterozoic and Phanerozoic marine evaporite formations suggests that cyclic changes in the (SO4-rich and Ca-rich) chemical type of seawater during the Phanerozoic could affect the composition of associations of authigenic clay minerals [...] Read more.
Information on the associations of clay minerals in Upper Proterozoic and Phanerozoic marine evaporite formations suggests that cyclic changes in the (SO4-rich and Ca-rich) chemical type of seawater during the Phanerozoic could affect the composition of associations of authigenic clay minerals in marine evaporite deposits. The vast majority of evaporite clay minerals are authigenic. The most common are illite, chlorite, smectite and disordered mixed-layer illite-smectite and chlorite-smectite; all the clay minerals are included regardless of their quantity. Corrensite, sepiolite, palygorskite and talc are very unevenly distributed in the Phanerozoic. Other clay minerals (perhaps with the exception of kaolinite) are very rare. Evaporites precipitated during periods of SO4-rich seawater type are characterized by both a greater number and a greater variety of clay minerals—smectite and mixed-layer minerals, as well as Mg-corrensite, palygorskite, sepiolite, and talc, are more common in associations. The composition of clay mineral association in marine evaporites clearly depends on the chemical type of seawater and upon the brine concentration in the evaporite basin. Along with increasing salinity, aggradational transformations of clay minerals lead to the ordering of their structure and, ideally, to a decrease in the number of minerals. In fact, evaporite deposits of higher stages of brine concentration often still contain unstable clay minerals. This is due to the intense simultaneous volcanic activity that brought a significant amount of pyroclastic material into the evaporite basin; intermediate products of its transformation (in the form of swelling minerals) often remained in the deposits of the potassium salt precipitation stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry of Evaporites)
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Article
Mineralogical Setting of Precious Metals at the Assarel Porphyry Copper-Gold Deposit, Bulgaria, as Supporting Information for the Development of New Drill Core 3D XCT-XRF Scanning Technology
Minerals 2020, 10(11), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10110946 - 24 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
A petrographic investigation of ore samples from the Assarel porphyry copper deposit in the Srednogorie metallogenic zone (Bulgaria) constrains the setting and character of precious metals (Au, Ag, PGE) and related minerals within the deposit. This work supports renewed interest in understanding the [...] Read more.
A petrographic investigation of ore samples from the Assarel porphyry copper deposit in the Srednogorie metallogenic zone (Bulgaria) constrains the setting and character of precious metals (Au, Ag, PGE) and related minerals within the deposit. This work supports renewed interest in understanding the deportment of precious metals and provides mineralogical knowledge during the testing and validation of novel drill core 3D X-ray computed tomography–X-ray fluorescence (XCT-XRF) scanning technology being developed as part of the X-MINE project. Scanning electron microscopy–energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS) results indicate precious metals occur in their native state (Au, Ag), as sulfides (Ag), sulfosalts (Au), tellurides (Ag, Pd), and selenides (Ag), and typically form micron-sized inclusions in pyrite and chalcopyrite or are disseminated in the groundmass of the rock. Preservation of early Fe oxide–chalcopyrite ± bornite assemblage as relics in the more dominant pyrite-chalcopyrite mineralization assemblage supports mineral disequilibrium relationships and multi-stage mineralization events. Several rare minerals (e.g., merenskyite, acanthite, sorosite, tetra-auricupride, auricupride, greenokite, bismuthinite, nagyagite, native Ni) are reported for the first time at Assarel and highlight the mineralogical diversity of the ore. The occurrence of precious metals and related minerals at Assarel attest to a complex hydrothermal system that underwent progressive physicochemical changes during the evolution of the mineralizing system (e.g., redox conditions, fluid chemistry). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ore Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Rare Metal Deposits)
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Article
Diamonds Certify Themselves: Multivariate Statistical Provenance Analysis
Minerals 2020, 10(10), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10100916 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1363
Abstract
The country or mine of origin is an important economic and societal issue inherent in the diamond industry. Consumers increasingly want to know the provenance of their diamonds to ensure their purchase does not support inhumane working conditions. Governments around the world reduce [...] Read more.
The country or mine of origin is an important economic and societal issue inherent in the diamond industry. Consumers increasingly want to know the provenance of their diamonds to ensure their purchase does not support inhumane working conditions. Governments around the world reduce the flow of conflict diamonds via paper certificates through the Kimberley Process, a United Nations mandate. However, certificates can be subject to fraud and do not provide a failsafe solution to stopping the flow of illicit diamonds. A solution tied to the diamonds themselves that can withstand the cutting and manufacturing process is required. Here, we show that multivariate analysis of LIBS (laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy) diamond spectra predicts the mine of origin at greater than 95% accuracy, distinguishes between natural and synthetic stones, and distinguishes between synthetic stones manufactured in different laboratories by different methods. Two types of spectral features, elemental emission peaks and emission clusters from C-N and C-C molecules, are significant in the analysis, indicating that the provenance signal is contained in the carbon structure itself rather than in inclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Tools to Constrain the Origin of Minerals)
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Article
Ultrahigh-Temperature Sphalerite from Zn-Cd-Se-Rich Combustion Metamorphic Marbles, Daba Complex, Central Jordan: Paragenesis, Chemistry, and Structure
Minerals 2020, 10(9), 822; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10090822 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Minerals of the Zn-Cd-S-Se system that formed by moderately reduced ~800–850 °C combustion metamorphic (CM) alteration of marly sediments were found in marbles from central Jordan. Their precursor sediments contain Se- and Ni-enriched authigenic pyrite and ZnS modifications with high Cd enrichment (up [...] Read more.
Minerals of the Zn-Cd-S-Se system that formed by moderately reduced ~800–850 °C combustion metamorphic (CM) alteration of marly sediments were found in marbles from central Jordan. Their precursor sediments contain Se- and Ni-enriched authigenic pyrite and ZnS modifications with high Cd enrichment (up to ~10 wt%) and elevated concentrations of Cu, Sb, Ag, Mo, and Pb. The marbles are composed of calcite, carbonate-fluorapatite, spurrite, and brownmillerite and characterized by high P, Zn, Cd, U, and elevated Se, Ni, V, and Mo contents. Main accessories are either Zn-bearing oxides or sphalerite, greenockite, and Ca-Fe-Ni-Cu-O-S-Se oxychalcogenides. CM alteration lead to compositional homogenization of metamorphic sphalerite, for which trace-element suites become less diverse than in the authigenic ZnS. The CM sphalerites contain up to ~14 wt% Cd and ~6.7 wt% Se but are poor in Fe (means 1.4–2.2 wt%), and bear 100–250 ppm Co, Ni, and Hg. Sphalerite (Zn,Cd,Fe)(S,O,Se)cub is a homogeneous solid solution with a unit cell smaller than in ZnScub as a result of S2− → O2− substitution (a = 5.40852(12) Å, V = 158.211(6) Å3). The amount of lattice-bound oxygen in the CM sphalerite is within the range for synthetic ZnS1−xOx crystals (0 < x ≤ 0.05) growing at 900 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Formation in Pyrometamorphic Process)
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Article
Unconformity-Type Uranium Systems: A Comparative Review and Predictive Modelling of Critical Genetic Factors
Minerals 2020, 10(9), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10090738 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1862
Abstract
A review of descriptive and genetic models is presented for unconformity-type uranium deposits with particular attention given to spatial representations of key process components of the mineralising system and their mappable expressions. This information formed the basis for the construction of mineral potential [...] Read more.
A review of descriptive and genetic models is presented for unconformity-type uranium deposits with particular attention given to spatial representations of key process components of the mineralising system and their mappable expressions. This information formed the basis for the construction of mineral potential models for the world’s premier unconformity-style uranium provinces, the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Canada (>650,000 t U3O8), and the NW McArthur Basin in the Northern Territory, Australia (>450,000 t U3O8). A novel set of ‘edge’ detection routines was used to identify high-contrast zones in gridded geophysical data in support of the mineral potential modelling. This approach to geophysical data processing and interpretation offers a virtually unbiased means of detecting potential basement structures under cover and at a range of scales. Fuzzy logic mineral potential mapping was demonstrated to be a useful tool for delineating areas that have high potential for hosting economic uranium concentrations, utilising all knowledge and incorporating all relevant spatial data available for the project area. The resulting models not only effectively ‘rediscover’ the known uranium mineralisation but also highlight several other areas containing all of the mappable components deemed critical for the accumulation of economic uranium deposits. The intelligence amplification approach to mineral potential modelling presented herein is an example of augmenting expert-driven conceptual targeting with the powerful logic and rationality of modern computing. The result is a targeting tool that captures the current status quo of geospatial and exploration information and conceptual knowledge pertaining to unconformity-type uranium systems. Importantly, the tool can be readily updated once new information or knowledge comes to hand. As with every targeting tool, these models should not be utilised in isolation, but as one of several inputs informing exploration decision-making. Nor should they be regarded as ‘treasure maps’, but rather as pointers towards areas of high potential that are worthy of further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geology of Uranium Deposits)
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Article
Lower Cretaceous Rodby and Palaeocene Lista Shales: Characterisation and Comparison of Top-Seal Mudstones at Two Planned CCS Sites, Offshore UK
Minerals 2020, 10(8), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080691 - 03 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
Petroleum-rich basins at a mature stage of exploration and production offer many opportunities for large-scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) since oil and gas were demonstrably contained by low-permeability top-sealing rocks, such as shales. For CCS to work, there must be effectively no [...] Read more.
Petroleum-rich basins at a mature stage of exploration and production offer many opportunities for large-scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) since oil and gas were demonstrably contained by low-permeability top-sealing rocks, such as shales. For CCS to work, there must be effectively no leakage from the injection site, so the nature of the top-seal is an important aspect for consideration when appraising prospective CCS opportunities. The Lower Cretaceous Rodby Shale and the Palaeocene Lista Shale have acted as seals to oil and gas accumulations (e.g., the Atlantic and Balmoral fields) and may now play a critical role in sealing the Acorn and East Mey subsurface carbon storage sites. The characteristics of these important shales have been little addressed in the hydrocarbon extraction phase, with an understandable focus on reservoir properties and their influence on resource recovery rates. Here, we assess the characteristics of the Rodby and Lista Shales using wireline logs, geomechanical tests, special core analysis (mercury intrusion) and mineralogical and petrographic techniques, with the aim of highlighting key properties that identify them as suitable top-seals. The two shales, defined using the relative gamma log values (or Vshale), have similar mean pore throat radius (approximately 18 nm), splitting tensile strength (approximately 2.5 MPa) and anisotropic values of splitting tensile strength, but they display significant differences in terms of wireline log character, porosity and mineralogy. The Lower Cretaceous Rodby Shale has a mean porosity of approximately 14 %, a mean permeability of 263 nD (2.58 × 10−19 m2), and is calcite rich and has clay minerals that are relatively rich in non-radioactive phases such as kaolinite. The Palaeocene Lista Shale has a mean porosity of approximately 16% a mean permeability of 225 nD (2.21 × 10−19 m2), and is calcite free, but contains abundant quartz silt and is dominated by smectite. The 2% difference in porosity does not seem to equate to a significant difference in permeability. Elastic properties derived from wireline log data show that Young’s modulus, material stiffness, is very low (5 GPa) for the most shale (clay mineral)-rich Rodby intervals, with Young’s modulus increasing as shale content decreases and as cementation (e.g., calcite) increases. Our work has shown that Young’s modulus, which can be used to inform the likeliness of tensile failure, may be predictable based on routine gamma, density and compressive sonic logs in the majority of wells where the less common shear logs were not collected. The predictability of Young’s modulus from routine well log data could form a valuable element of CCS-site top-seal appraisals. This study has shown that the Rodby and Lista Shales represent good top-seals to the Acorn and East Mey CCS sites and they can hold CO2 column heights of approximately 380 m. The calcite-rich Rodby Shale may be susceptible to localised carbonate dissolution and increasing porosity and permeability but decreasing tendency to develop fracture permeability in the presence of injected CO2, as brittle calcite dissolves. In contrast, the calcite-free, locally quartz-rich, Lista Shale will be geochemically inert to injected CO2 but retain its innate tendency to develop fracture permeability (where quartz rich) in the presence of injected CO2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Characterisation of Mudrocks: Textures and Mineralogy)
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Article
High-Performance Recovery of Cobalt and Nickel from the Cathode Materials of NMC Type Li-Ion Battery by Complexation-Assisted Solvent Extraction
Minerals 2020, 10(8), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080662 - 26 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1779
Abstract
The annual global volume of waste lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has been increasing over years. Although solvent extraction method seems well developed, the separation factor between cobalt and nickel is still relatively low—only 72 when applying conventional continuous-countercurrent extraction. In this study, we improved [...] Read more.
The annual global volume of waste lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has been increasing over years. Although solvent extraction method seems well developed, the separation factor between cobalt and nickel is still relatively low—only 72 when applying conventional continuous-countercurrent extraction. In this study, we improved the separation factor of cobalt and nickel by complexation-assisted solvent extraction. Before solvent extraction procedure, leaching kinetic of Li, Ni, Co and Mn was studied and can be explained by the Avrami equation. Leached residues were also investigated by SEM and XRD. Operation parameters of complexation-assisted solvent extraction were examined, including volume ratio of extractant to diluent, types of diluent, type of complexing reagent, extractant saponification percentage and volume ratio of organic phase to aqueous phase. The optimal separation factor of complexation-assisted solvent extraction could be improved to 372, which is five times that of conventional solvent extraction. The separation tendency would be interpreted by the relationship between extraction equilibrium pH and log distribution coefficient. Full article
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Article
Dissolution Test Protocol for Estimating Water Quality Changes in Minerals Processing Plants Operating With Closed Water Circulation
Minerals 2020, 10(8), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080653 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1192
Abstract
To save freshwater resources and comply with environmental regulations, minerals processing operations are transitioning to partially or fully closed water circulation. However, the accumulation of electrolytes and the addition of reagents lead to changes in water composition and may compromise flotation performance and [...] Read more.
To save freshwater resources and comply with environmental regulations, minerals processing operations are transitioning to partially or fully closed water circulation. However, the accumulation of electrolytes and the addition of reagents lead to changes in water composition and may compromise flotation performance and plant maintenance. As a consequence, costly modifications are often required to cope with these challenges. Therefore, knowledge about water quality variation owing to closed water circulation and its potential effect on the flotation performance is crucial. The experimental methodology presented in this paper targeted three main objectives: (1) predicting the tendency of the accumulation of elements and compounds into the process water during comminution, flotation, and storage in tailings facilities; (2) establishing a relationship between laboratory results and plant historical water quality data; and (3) predicting the potential effect of recycling water on flotation performance. The results obtained with Boliden Kevitsa ore showed a good correlation between the water matrix of the actual process water on-site and that obtained in the ore dissolution tests done in the laboratory. The final water composition came close to the process water in terms of major elements and some of the minor elements. Additionally, the work presented in this paper demonstrated that a dissolution loop allowed us to predict the potential impact of the recycling water on the ore flotability. This methodology could serve as an aid for predicting water quality matrix variation and designing closed water circulation systems at existing and new plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water within Minerals Processing)
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Article
Geochemistry of Tourmaline from the Laodou Gold Deposit in the West Qinling Orogen, Central China: Implications for the Ore-Forming Process
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