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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

The Source, Mobility and Fate of Bismuth (Bi) in Legacy Mine Waste, Yxsjöberg, Sweden

Hallstrom, Lina P. B.; Gustafsson, Jon Petter

Abstract

The usage of bismuth (Bi), a critical and strategic raw material, has increased in the last 10 years. At present, the knowledge of Bi geochemistry is too limited to develop accurate mine waste and water management strategies to prevent environmental impact. Therefore, its geochemistry was studied in historical tailings in Yxsjoberg, Sweden. Intact tailings cores and shore samples were geochemically and mineralogically analyzed. Groundwater was sampled between 2016 and 2021 and analyzed for 71 elements and (SO4, F, Cl). The results were correlated with metals and dissolved organic matter (DOC), which have been previously published. The total concentrations, sequential extraction and scanning electron microscopy-energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) mapping indicated that Bi had been mobilized from the primary mineral bismuthinite (Bi2S3). In the oxidized tailings from both the cores and shore, Bi was hypothesized to have adsorbed to iron (Fe) (hydr)oxides, which prohibited high concentrations of Bi leaching into the groundwater and surface water. Dissolved Bi in groundwater was significantly correlated with DOC. In surface water, dissolved Bi was transported more than 5 km from the tailings. This study indicates that Bi can become mobile from legacy mine waste due to the oxidation of bismuthinite and either be scavenged by adsorption of Fe (hydr)oxides or kept mobile in groundwater and surface water due to complexation with DOC.

Keywords

bismuth (Bi) mobility; DOC complexation; Fe (hydr)oxides; bismuthinite; historical tailings

Published in

Minerals
2024, Volume: 14, number: 2, article number: 122Publisher: MDPI

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Geochemistry

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/min14020122

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/128893