Understanding the Mechanism of Arsenic Mobilisation and Behaviour in Tailings Dams


  • Bennetta Koomson Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
  • Elias Kwasi Asiam University of Mines and Technology
  • William Skinner University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia
  • Jonas Addai-Mensah University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia


Tailings, Leaching, Arsenopyrite, Heavy metals and Temperature



A study was carried out on leaching of tailings at 30 áµ’C and 40 áµ’C. The mineralogical and chemical composition of the tailings material were determined by quantitative x-ray diffractometry (QXRD) and scanning electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDAX). The study revealed that the tailings contain sulphides (arsenopyrite and pyrite) which can leach to produce arsenic (As) and other ions in solution. The acid released during leaching depends on the temperature of leaching. More acid was produced at higher temperature (40 áµ’C) than lower temperature (30 áµ’C). It was established that arsenic precipitation from solution was higher at higher temperature (40 áµ’C) than lower temperature (30 áµ’C). Mimicking the study in a typical tailings environment, it could be proposed that As mobilization will be enhanced at lower temperature (30 áµ’C) than at higher temperature (40 áµ’C).

Author Biographies

Bennetta Koomson, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana


Department of Materials Engineering

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology



Elias Kwasi Asiam, University of Mines and Technology

Associate Professor

Minerals Engineering Department

University of Mines and Technology



William Skinner, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia

Research Professor and Strand Leader - Minerals & Resources Engineering

Future Industries Institute

University of South Australia

Mawson Lakes, Adelaide

South Australia


Jonas Addai-Mensah, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia

Adjunct Professor

Future Industries Institute

University of South Australia

Mawson Lakes, Adelaide

South Australia. 



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