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Minerals, Volume 14, Issue 4 (April 2024) – 110 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Rare earth elements (REEs) are critical for modern technological applications, but their extraction can have disastrous environmental impacts. Electrokinetic mining represents a new sustainable technique to recover REEs from weathering crusts, which increases their recovery efficiency while reducing harmful environmental consequences. Wang and colleagues have constructed an electrokinetic transport model considering the previously unrecognized influence of ionic size, which enables a more realistic description of the electrokinetic transport of REEs in weathering crusts containing nanochannels. The model has predicted that the electrokinetic transport of heavy REEs is faster than that of light REEs, contrary to the conventional belief, while being consistent with the experimental results. View this paper
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19 pages, 6917 KiB  
Article
Research on the Grinding Process of Superhard Particles in the Fluidized Bed Opposed Jet Mill Based on the CFD-DEM Methodology
by Lingling Shen, Xiao Jiang, Xuedong Liu, Hongmei Liu, Siduo Song, Qiuge Han and Xu He
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040437 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 629
Abstract
The process of superhard particle breakage in the grinding zone of the fluidized bed opposed jet mill is investigated using the CFD-DEM (computational fluid dynamics-discrete element method) coupling method with the Tavares UFRJ Breakage Model in the present study. The effects of structural [...] Read more.
The process of superhard particle breakage in the grinding zone of the fluidized bed opposed jet mill is investigated using the CFD-DEM (computational fluid dynamics-discrete element method) coupling method with the Tavares UFRJ Breakage Model in the present study. The effects of structural and operational parameters, such as target plate structure, nozzle position, air inlet velocity, and feed rate, on the equipment stress distribution, airflow velocity, pressure field, particle velocity, and cumulative particle size distribution are thoroughly studied to determine the optimal structural and operational parameters. Experimental validation is conducted, including scanning electron microscope (SEM) observation of particle morphology and analysis of particle size distribution of ground product particles. The simulation results indicate that the wear rate of the structure without a target plate is lower than that of the structure with a target plate in the grinding central zone. Therefore, the structure without a target plate is chosen for further investigation. The cumulative particle size distribution after grinding is influenced by nozzle position, air inlet velocity, and feed rate. The particle D50 is positively correlated with nozzle spacing and feed rate, while it is negatively correlated with air inlet velocity. The optimal grinding effect is achieved when the distance between the nozzle and the center of the grinding zone ranges from 52.5 mm to 72.55 mm, the air inlet velocity is 950 m/s, and the feed rate is 10.5 g/s. Through experimental investigation, it has been observed that when the feed rate is 10 g/s, the particle size distribution becomes more uniform. Furthermore, consistent trends in the cumulative particle size distribution in the experiment and simulation results can be found, which validates the present numerical model. It was observed that particles at low feed rates retain certain angular edges, while particle roundness increases at high feed rates. Full article
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17 pages, 3908 KiB  
Article
Simultaneous U–Pb and U–Th Dating Using LA-ICP-MS for Young (<0.4 Ma) Minerals: A Reappraisal of the Double Dating Approach
by Hisatoshi Ito
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040436 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Simultaneous U–Pb and U–Th dating using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was performed on the ca. 0.1 Ma Toya tephra and the ca. 0.08 Ma SS14-28 U–Th zircon reference material. In U–Pb dating, both Th/U and Pa/U partitioning between magma and minerals [...] Read more.
Simultaneous U–Pb and U–Th dating using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was performed on the ca. 0.1 Ma Toya tephra and the ca. 0.08 Ma SS14-28 U–Th zircon reference material. In U–Pb dating, both Th/U and Pa/U partitioning between magma and minerals were considered. In U–Th dating, both abundance sensitivity and molecular interferences on 230Th were reevaluated. As a result, the Toya tephra yielded an accurate weighted mean U–Pb age of 0.103 ± 0.029 Ma (2σ) using zircon and monazite. Conversely, the SS14-28 zircon yielded an inaccurate U–Pb age (0.25 ± 0.10 Ma), which was attributed to low 206Pb signal intensity. Both the Toya tephra zircon and the SS14-28 zircon yielded accurate U–Th model ages of 0.108 ± 0.014 Ma and 0.078 ± 0.007 Ma, respectively. The agreement of U–Pb and U–Th ages for Toya indicates that simultaneous U–Pb and U–Th dating is possible and viable. The inappropriate age of SS14-28 U–Pb age and appropriate U–Th model age also indicates it is preferable to apply both U–Pb and U–Th dating simultaneously for young (<0.4 Ma) zircons to check internal consistency. The proposed double dating approach may be especially useful for small grains when it otherwise would be impossible to obtain multiple ages from a single grain. By adopting simultaneous U–Pb and U–Th dating using LA-ICP-MS, zircon crystallization ages as old as 4.5 Ga to as young as 0.1 Ma (or even younger) can be obtained in a quick and cost-effective manner with a reasonable (~5% at 1σ) uncertainty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Geochemistry and Geochronology)
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17 pages, 17665 KiB  
Article
Genesis of the Mahour Base Metal Deposit, Iran: Constraints from Fluid Inclusions and Sulfur Isotopes
by Zahra Moradiani, Majid Ghaderi, Hossein-Ali Tajeddin and Pura Alfonso
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040435 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The Mahour base metal deposit is located northeast of Badroud in the middle of the Urumieh–Dokhtar magmatic arc in the Isfahan province of Iran. The main host rocks to the ores are Eocene volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks. Hypogene ore minerals constituting the main [...] Read more.
The Mahour base metal deposit is located northeast of Badroud in the middle of the Urumieh–Dokhtar magmatic arc in the Isfahan province of Iran. The main host rocks to the ores are Eocene volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks. Hypogene ore minerals constituting the main ore body are galena, sphalerite, pyrite, and chalcopyrite. In addition to gangue quartz, a variety of supergene minerals comprising gypsum, goethite, hematite, “limonite”, malachite, azurite, covellite, and chalcocite are also present; gangue minerals are quartz, barite, calcite, sericite, and chlorite. Silicification, intermediate argillic, and propylitic are the main wall-rock alteration types. The presence of fluid inclusions with different vapor/liquid ratios in quartz and sphalerite could indicate a boiling process. The primary liquid-rich fluid inclusions suggest that the homogenization temperature was between 107 and 298 °C from fluids with salinities from 1.5 to 13.7 wt.% NaCl equiv. These data suggest that the ore-forming fluids were magmatic with a contribution from meteoric waters. The δ34S values of sulfides range from 1.9 to 3.4‰, those of barite range from 12.1 to 13.2‰, and those of gypsum range from 4.3 to 5.6‰. These data suggest that sulfur was mostly of magmatic origin with a minor contribution from sedimentary rocks. Our data suggest that the boiling of fluids formed an intermediate-sulfidation style of epithermal mineralization for the Mahour deposit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Porphyry, Epithermal, and Skarn Deposits)
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21 pages, 3407 KiB  
Article
An Automated Approach to the Heterogeneity Test for Sampling Protocol Optimization
by Gabriela Cardoso Prado, Ana Carolina Chieregati and Simon C. Dominy
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040434 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 506
Abstract
The fundamental sampling error is one of the sampling errors defined by Pierre Gy’s Theory of Sampling and is related to the constitution heterogeneity of the mineralisation. Even if a sampling procedure is considered ideal or perfect, this error will still exist and, [...] Read more.
The fundamental sampling error is one of the sampling errors defined by Pierre Gy’s Theory of Sampling and is related to the constitution heterogeneity of the mineralisation. Even if a sampling procedure is considered ideal or perfect, this error will still exist and, therefore, cannot be eliminated. A key input into Gy’s fundamental sampling error equation is intrinsic heterogeneity. The intrinsic heterogeneity of a fragmented lot can be estimated by the “calibrated” formula of Gy, which can be written as a function of the sampling constants K and α. These constants can be calibrated by the standard heterogeneity test, originally developed by Pierre Gy and Francis Pitard. This method is based on the selection of rock fragments, individually and randomly, in an equiprobabilistic way from a lot of particulate material, aiming to estimate the intrinsic heterogeneity of the lot. This test, in addition to demanding time and space, can be influenced by human biases, and is difficult to quantify or measure. Aiming to simplify the test execution and eliminate the variance generated by human biases, a prototype called the intrinsic heterogeneity tester was developed as an automated alternative for heterogeneity testing. This prototype selects fragments from a falling stream, one by one, by means of a predefined laser count. To evaluate the prototype, a study was carried out, using painted chickpeas to simulate mineralisation grades and, sequentially, processing the same lot in the intrinsic heterogeneity tester prototype several times. The statistical and mineral content analysis, and comparisons between the intrinsic heterogeneity tester and the standard heterogeneity test sampling constants and constitution heterogeneities were undertaken. As a result, the authors conclude that the intrinsic heterogeneity tester prototype can be used as an alternative to the manual selection of individual fragments and for estimating the intrinsic heterogeneity of particulate material lots to support sampling protocol optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy)
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26 pages, 19174 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Characteristics and Macro–Microscopic Response Mechanisms of Cemented Paste Backfill under Different Curing Temperatures
by Chao Zhang, Abbas Taheri, Cuifeng Du, Wenhao Xia and Yuye Tan
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040433 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Macroscopic and microscopic properties of cemented paste backfill (CPB) were studied through uniaxial compressive testing, acoustic emission (AE) monitoring, and microscopic feature analysis. The research shows that the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) and elastic modulus have an exponential function type positive correlation with [...] Read more.
Macroscopic and microscopic properties of cemented paste backfill (CPB) were studied through uniaxial compressive testing, acoustic emission (AE) monitoring, and microscopic feature analysis. The research shows that the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) and elastic modulus have an exponential function type positive correlation with the increase in curing time and a polynomial function type with the rise of curing temperature; the mechanical parameters reach the maximum when the curing temperature is 40 °C. Increasing the curing time and curing temperature can promote the transition from shear crack to tensile crack. Increasing the curing time and raising the curing temperature both promote the transition of shear crack to tensile crack in the CPB. Overall, the crack mode is a combination of tensile and shear crack. At room temperature, the shear cracks dominates in the initial stage, but the proportion of the shear cracks decreases as the pressure increases in uniaxial compression test. At a curing temperature of 60 °C, the crack mode transitions to a tensile-shear mixed crack, with tension becoming the dominant crack mode. Microscopic analysis suggests an excellent linear correlation between the pore fractal dimension, UCS, and elastic modulus. When the pore fractal dimension decreases, the mechanical parameters also decrease. The pore fractal dimension can effectively characterize the macroscopic mechanical properties. Finally, the curing temperature is divided into two stages, with 40 °C as the dividing line for analysis. In the first stage, the increase in curing temperature effectively improved the mechanical parameters; in the second stage, the excessively high hydration reaction rate weakened the mechanical parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Backfilling Materials for Underground Mining, Volume III)
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17 pages, 14051 KiB  
Article
A New Nephrite Occurrence in Jiangxi Province, China: Its Characterization and Gemological Significance
by Xin Wei, Guanghai Shi, Xiaochong Zhang, Jiajing Zhang and Meiyu Shih
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040432 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Nephrite is a very precious gemstone material. As a non-renewable resource, the discovery of new nephrite deposits and the study of the genesis of nephrite have aroused great interest. A new occurrence of nephrite known as Xinyu nephrite was discovered in Xinyu Country, [...] Read more.
Nephrite is a very precious gemstone material. As a non-renewable resource, the discovery of new nephrite deposits and the study of the genesis of nephrite have aroused great interest. A new occurrence of nephrite known as Xinyu nephrite was discovered in Xinyu Country, Jiangxi province, China. Field investigations reveal that nephrite appears in a contact zone between the Mengshan composite granitic pluton and Permian carbonate rock. The carbonate rock is calcic marble that underwent diopsidization and tremolitization. Nephrites have a light yellow-green color, weak greasy luster, are slightly-translucent to translucent, and are fine-grained. Their refractive index (RI) ranges from 1.60 to 1.61, and their specific gravity (SG) value ranges from 2.90 to 2.91, falling within the range of nephrites from Xinjiang, China. Their Mohs hardness (Hm) ranges from 5.78 to 5.83. Petrographic observations and electron probe micro analyzer (EPMA) data indicated that analyzed nephrites mainly comprise tremolite, with minor diopside, calcite, quartz, and apatite. Tremolite has a ratio of Mg/(Mg + Fe2+) greater than 0.99. The tremolite grains show microscopic fibrous-felted and columnar textures. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show some tremolite fibers interwoven in different crystallographic orientations, and some arranged in parallel. Fourier transform infrared and Raman spectroscopy features reveal the bands of minerals typical for nephrite composition. The petrographic characteristics and geological background of the Mengshan area indicate that nephrite formed through a replacement of calcic marble, which differs from the two known types (D-type: dolomite-related; S-type: serpentinite-related). Mineral replacements were common in nephrite, including diopside by tremolite, calcite by tremolite, and recrystallization of coarse by fine tremolite grains. The discovery of Xinyu nephrite occurrence complements the resource and provides an updated case for the in-depth study of the diversity of nephrite deposits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Deposits)
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22 pages, 11346 KiB  
Article
Geological and Crystallochemical Characterization of the Margaritasite–Carnotite Mineral from the Uranium Region of Peña Blanca, Chihuahua, Mexico
by Fabián G. Faudoa-Gómez, Luis E. Fuentes-Cobas, Hilda E. Esparza-Ponce, Jesús G. Canche-Tello, Ignacio A. Reyes-Cortés, Maria E. Fuentes-Montero, Diane M. Eichert, Yair Rodríguez-Guerra and Maria-Elena Montero-Cabrera
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040431 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 674
Abstract
Margaritasite is a mineral compound discovered in the early 1980s in Chihuahua, Mexico. It is a natural cesium uranyl vanadate found only, so far, in the Margaritas mine of the Peña Blanca highlands. In this work, a thorough characterization of the aforementioned mineral [...] Read more.
Margaritasite is a mineral compound discovered in the early 1980s in Chihuahua, Mexico. It is a natural cesium uranyl vanadate found only, so far, in the Margaritas mine of the Peña Blanca highlands. In this work, a thorough characterization of the aforementioned mineral is presented. The portfolio of the techniques employed includes high-resolution X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy in selected area electron diffraction (SAED) mode, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). After extensive data analysis and modeling, new information on the mineral has been retrieved. Its phase composition is margaritasite–carnotite: a solid solution of cesium and potassium uranyl vanadate [(Cs,K)2(UO2)2(VO4)2·nH2O], and margaritasite, which is practically pure cesium uranyl vanadate [Cs2(UO2)2(VO4)2·nH2O]. The crystal structure of both components presents the space group P 1 21/c 1. Yet, each phase has similar, but appreciably different, lattice parameters. The mineral has a lamellar tabular and prismatic morphology. SAED patterns confirm the crystal structure of margaritasite. XAS spectra of Cs, V, and U confirm the elemental composition, oxidation states, and interatomic distances of this structure. These findings are consistent with the presence of cesium in this unique mineral from the paragenesis point of view. Full article
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16 pages, 5110 KiB  
Article
Swelling Stress of Bentonite: Thermodynamics of Interlayer Water in K-Montmorillonite in Consideration of Alteration
by Misato Endo and Haruo Sato
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040430 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 631
Abstract
The buffer material that makes up the geological disposal system of high-level waste swells by contact with groundwater and seals space with rock mass and fractures in rock mass. The buffer material has a function of mechanical buffer with rock pressure, and swelling [...] Read more.
The buffer material that makes up the geological disposal system of high-level waste swells by contact with groundwater and seals space with rock mass and fractures in rock mass. The buffer material has a function of mechanical buffer with rock pressure, and swelling stress is important in this case. The alteration of bentonite may occur due to the initial replacement of cations (Na+ ions) in the interlayer with K+ ions upon contact with groundwater, but there are no studies on the swelling stress of K-bentonite. In this study, the author prepared K-montmorillonite samples and obtained thermodynamic data on interlayer water as a function of water content using a relative humidity method. The swelling stress was analyzed based on a thermodynamic model developed in earlier studies and compared with measured data. The activity and the relative partial molar Gibbs free energy of porewater decreased with decreasing water content in the region, below approximately 15%. This behavior significantly differs from that of other ions, such as Na. The swelling stress calculated based on the thermodynamic model and date occurred in the region of high density of 1.9 Mg/m3 with montmorillonite partial density. It was indicated for the first time that K-bentonite scarcely swells under realistic design conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mineralogy, 2nd Edition)
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28 pages, 8593 KiB  
Article
Identification of the Sedimentary Sources and Origin of Uranium for Zhiluo Formation of the Tarangaole U Deposit, Northeastern Ordos Basin
by Guang-Yao Li, Chun-Ji Xue, Qiang Zhu, Jian-Wen Yang and Xiao-Bo Zhao
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040429 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 502
Abstract
The large-sized Tarangaole uranium deposit and its neighboring Daying and Nalinggou deposits, located in the northeastern margin of the Ordos Basin, constitutes a major uranium resource base in northern China. In order to further clarify the sedimentary material source, uranium source and regional [...] Read more.
The large-sized Tarangaole uranium deposit and its neighboring Daying and Nalinggou deposits, located in the northeastern margin of the Ordos Basin, constitutes a major uranium resource base in northern China. In order to further clarify the sedimentary material source, uranium source and regional sediment–tectonic setting of the uranium-fed clastic rocks (i.e., Zhiluo Formation(J2z)) in the district, this paper carried out whole-rock geochemistry, heavy minerals composition and in situ U-Pb dating of detrital zircons for sandstones from the lower section of the Zhiluo Formation. The results have shown that the average chemical differentiation index (CIA) for the host rocks is 73.16 and the chemical weathering degree is moderate. Heavy minerals are mainly composed of ilmenite, garnet, chlorpyrite, zircon, pyrite, apatite, hematite, etc. The U-Pb dating of detrital zircon generally indicates three age peaks, i.e., 260~Ma, 1850~Ma and 2450~Ma, respectively. In conclusion, the source rocks may have been formed at active continental margins, e.g., in a continental margin arc environment. The sedimentary materials mainly come from khondalite series, TTGs, granulite, and mafic–ultramafic intrusive rocks distributed among the Daqing–Ula Mountains and adjacent areas, etc. The Late Paleozoic U-rich intermediate and acidic magmatic rocks spreading over the eastern part of the Ula–Daqing and Wolf mountains have provided the main uranium sources for the formation of major U deposits in the northern Ordos Basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Deposits)
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15 pages, 6136 KiB  
Article
Reduction in Apparent Permeability Owing to Surface Precipitation of Solutes by Drying Process and Its Effect on Geological Disposal
by Tsugumi Seki, Kanta Hongo, Taiji Chida and Yuichi Niibori
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040428 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 464
Abstract
Disposal tunnels in geological repositories are ventilated continuously for over 50 years until their closure. Under these conditions, an unsaturated zone of mixed liquid and gas phases forms around the tunnels. Moreover, drying is assumed to progress from the host rock to the [...] Read more.
Disposal tunnels in geological repositories are ventilated continuously for over 50 years until their closure. Under these conditions, an unsaturated zone of mixed liquid and gas phases forms around the tunnels. Moreover, drying is assumed to progress from the host rock to the tunnels. To understand these drying processes, this study investigated the migration and precipitation of solutes via capillary forces during drying in packed columns using silica sand or glass beads as packed layers and X-ray CT analysis. In addition, the apparent permeability of a column packed with silica sand containing precipitation was examined using a flow experiment. The results indicate that the precipitation and accumulation of solutes were significant near the drying surfaces of the columns. The apparent mass transfer coefficient at a relatively early stage of the drying process indicates that the migration rate of solutes depends strongly on the capillary forces during the drying process. Furthermore, the apparent permeability of the columns with precipitation decreased significantly. These indicate that the precipitation and accumulation of solutes with drying in the groundwater reduce the porosity and permeability, and the advection of groundwater around the repository may be suppressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry)
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21 pages, 2700 KiB  
Review
Indirect Freeze Crystallization—An Emerging Technology for Valuable Resource Recovery from Wastewater
by Kagiso S. More and Mlungisi Mahlangu
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040427 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 673
Abstract
This paper explores the efficiency and potential of indirect freeze crystallization (IFC) as a valuable resource-recovery technology in wastewater treatment, particularly focusing on acid mine water and hazardous material wastewater-treatment plants. Wastewater treatment poses challenges to recovering valuable resources effectively, enforcing the need [...] Read more.
This paper explores the efficiency and potential of indirect freeze crystallization (IFC) as a valuable resource-recovery technology in wastewater treatment, particularly focusing on acid mine water and hazardous material wastewater-treatment plants. Wastewater treatment poses challenges to recovering valuable resources effectively, enforcing the need for sustainable and resource-efficient technologies like freeze crystallization. Through a thorough examination of IFC principles and mechanisms, this paper aims to highlight its applications, advantages, and limitations. The investigation includes a comprehensive literature review and detailed methodology from one of the IFC pilot plants, as well as a critical analysis of the environmental and economic implications of IFC. By addressing scaling challenges in reverse osmosis and proposing an environmentally friendly brine disposal method through IFC, this paper contributes to reducing the environmental footprint associated with wastewater treatment. Additionally, this paper highlights the importance of extracting valuable resources from highly saline water and emphasises the potential economic and environmental benefits of resource recovery, particularly focusing on the promising technology of IFC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acid Mine Drainage: A Challenge or an Opportunity?)
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14 pages, 4470 KiB  
Article
Cultivation of Microalgae (Scenedesmus sp.) Using Coal Mining Wastewater and Separation via Coagulation/Flocculation and Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF)
by Marcio Alexandre Nicknig, André Camargo de Azevedo, Henrique Alberton de Oliveira and Ivo André Homrich Schneider
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040426 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 624
Abstract
Algae growth can be carried out in treated mine waters, providing biomass and helping to achieve the standards for water discharge. However, efficient separation of algae from the aqueous medium is crucial. The present work investigated the stability of Scenedesmus sp. in treated [...] Read more.
Algae growth can be carried out in treated mine waters, providing biomass and helping to achieve the standards for water discharge. However, efficient separation of algae from the aqueous medium is crucial. The present work investigated the stability of Scenedesmus sp. in treated acid drainage from coal mining and assessed the harvesting of microalgae via coagulation/flocculation and dissolved air flotation (DAF). Successful algae growth was achieved, with cells remaining suspended in the water at a wide range of pH values, requiring the use of reagents for destabilization/aggregation. Algae coagulation/flocculation was attained with the use of tannin or ferric chloride associated with an anionic polymer flocculant at a pH of 8.0 ± 0.1. When combined with the flocculant, both tannin and the inorganic coagulant proved effective in enhancing floc stability and hydrophobicity for the DAF process. In summary, this operational approach facilitated algae biomass recovery and significantly reduced turbidity in the treated water. Finally, a schematic diagram illustrating the algae cultivation and harvesting process is presented, offering a practical alternative to acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment refinement associated with algae biomass production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Characterization and Management of Mine Waters)
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18 pages, 3115 KiB  
Article
The Influences of O2 Availability on the Microbial Activities and Fe Transformations in the Iron Formation Caves of the Southern Espinhaço Range, Brazil
by Melissa K. Mulford, Anela Mukherjee, Augusto S. Auler, Hazel A. Barton and John M. Senko
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040425 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 693
Abstract
Over 3000 iron formation caves (IFCs) have formed in erosion-resistant Fe(III)-rich rocks throughout Brazil. Microbial Fe(III) reduction occurs in IFCs, where a microbe-rich, Fe(III)-depleted paste (sub muros) is found behind an Fe(III)-(hydr)oxide crust in the ceiling/walls. Microbial Fe(III) reduction in sub [...] Read more.
Over 3000 iron formation caves (IFCs) have formed in erosion-resistant Fe(III)-rich rocks throughout Brazil. Microbial Fe(III) reduction occurs in IFCs, where a microbe-rich, Fe(III)-depleted paste (sub muros) is found behind an Fe(III)-(hydr)oxide crust in the ceiling/walls. Microbial Fe(III) reduction in sub muros appears to be responsible for the transformation of Fe(III) to more soluble Fe(II), which is removed, leading to cave formation. This process of biospeleogenesis is likely controlled by O2 availability, which is linked to seasonal changes. Here, we studied the effects of alternating anoxia/oxia on the microbial community and on Fe solubility in banded iron formation (BIF), a rock type consisting of layered Fe(III)-oxide and silicate. Incubations of synthetic pore water, pulverized BIF, and sub muros were prepared and incubated under anoxia, during which BIF-Fe(III) reduction proceeded. During the Fe(III) reduction period, Firmicutes and/or Alphaproteobacteria were enriched, and genes involved in Fe(III) and sulfate reduction were detected in the metagenomes. Fe(II) oxidation genes, which were detected in the fresh sub muros, were not found. Upon the addition of atmospheric O2, Fe(III) reduction was arrested, and incomplete Fe(II) oxidation occurred. Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Chloroflexi increased in relative abundance following aeration, and Fe(III) reduction genes were still identified. Our results demonstrate that the sub muros microbial community retains the ability to reduce Fe(III) and drive speleogenesis despite fluctuations in O2 levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomineralization and Biominerals)
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17 pages, 3673 KiB  
Article
Application of Stacking Ensemble Learning in Predicting Copper’s Flotation Concentrate Grade
by Chengzhe Yin and Leming Ou
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040424 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 513
Abstract
Addressing issues such as a low operational condition recognition efficiency, strong subjectivity, and significant fluctuations in Outotec X fluorescence analysis data in copper flotation production, a copper concentrate grade classification model is constructed based on image processing technology and the Stacking ensemble learning [...] Read more.
Addressing issues such as a low operational condition recognition efficiency, strong subjectivity, and significant fluctuations in Outotec X fluorescence analysis data in copper flotation production, a copper concentrate grade classification model is constructed based on image processing technology and the Stacking ensemble learning algorithm. Firstly, a feature extraction model for copper concentration flotation foam images is established, extracting color, texture, and size statistical features to build a feature dataset. Secondly, to avoid redundancy in the feature data, which could reduce model accuracy, a combined correlation feature selection is employed for dimensionality reduction, with the filtered feature subset being used as the model input. Finally, to fully leverage the strengths of each model, a Stacking ensemble learning copper concentrate grade classification model is constructed with support vector machine (SVM), random forest (RF), and adaptive boosting (AdaBoost) as base models and logistic regression (LR) as the meta-model. The experimental results show that this ensemble model achieves good recognition for different grade categories, with a precision, recall, and F1 score of 90.01%, 89.85%, and 89.93%, respectively. The accuracy of this Stacking ensemble model, with a 7% improvement over Outotec X fluorescence analysis, demonstrates a potential to meet the daily production needs of beneficiation plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy)
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29 pages, 11996 KiB  
Article
Geodynamic Settings of Late Paleozoic–Early Mesozoic Granitoid Magmatism at the Arctic Continental Margins: Insights from New Geochronological and Geochemical Data from the Taimyr Peninsula
by Mikhail Yu. Kurapov, Dmitry L. Konopelko, Yuriy S. Biske, Vasiliy F. Proskurnin, Sergei V. Petrov, Maria A. Proskurnina, Yevgeny Yi. Berzon, Victoria B. Ershova, Stepan V. Berzin and Sergey Yu. Stepanov
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040423 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Despite significant progress in Arctic geological studies, a number of principal questions concerning the Paleozoic collisional events remain unanswered. Therefore, the Taimyr Peninsula, representing the only outcropped high Arctic region where magmatic complexes, formed by Hercynian collision between the Siberian Craton and the [...] Read more.
Despite significant progress in Arctic geological studies, a number of principal questions concerning the Paleozoic collisional events remain unanswered. Therefore, the Taimyr Peninsula, representing the only outcropped high Arctic region where magmatic complexes, formed by Hercynian collision between the Siberian Craton and the Kara Block, are well exposed, is crucially important. In this paper we report new geochemical and geochronological data for intrusions in the poorly studied northeastern part of the Taimyr Peninsula. The obtained results in combination with published data show that supra-subduction magmatism at the southern active margin of the Kara Block continued from ca. 345 to 285 Ma (Early Carboniferous to Early Permian), and was followed by a post-collisional magmatic pulse that affected the whole Taimyr across terrane boundaries at ca. 280 Ma in the Early Permian. After cessation of the post-collisional magmatism at ca. 265 Ma, the Taimyr experienced extension, and voluminous magmatic series associated with a Siberian mantle plume were formed between 251 and 228 Ma during the Triassic. The studied post-collisional and plume-related intrusions of the Northeastern Taimyr are generally classified as evolved high-K I-type granites with adakitic affinity. The latter is a regional feature because the majority of the analyzed plume-related granitoids are geochemically similar to high potassium continental adakites. It is suggested that the adakitic geochemical characteristics of the plume-related granitoids resulted from melting of hydrated mafic lower crustal protoliths and were controlled by the source lithology. Comparison of the new results with data available for adjacent areas allows for correlation of terranes on a regional scale and sheds light on the evolution of the Arctic continental margins in general. In the Early–Middle Paleozoic, the Kara Block was part of a continental terrane that formed at the northern edge of Baltica as a result of Neoproterozoic Timanian orogeny. In the Early Carboniferous, the southern margin of Kara turned into an active margin, while its inferred continuation in the eastern Uralian margin of Baltica remained a passive margin until the Early Permian. This discrepancy can be explained by dextral displacement of Kara relative to Baltica that took place in the Early Carboniferous and was later accommodated by the formation of the Taimyr collisional belt in the course of the Early Permian collision between Kara and Siberia. After collision, the Taimyr was incorporated into the northern Eurasian margin as an uplifted block that experienced surface erosion and supplied clastic material in surrounding basins. Full article
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19 pages, 39343 KiB  
Article
Conditions and Mechanism of Crystallization of Hydrous W-Fe Oxides with a Pyrochlore-Type of Structure (Elsmoreite Group) in the Oxidation Zone of Ore Deposits
by Mihail Tarassov and Eugenia Tarassova
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040422 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 705
Abstract
The purpose of the article is to elucidate the conditions and mechanism of crystallization of W-Fe oxide minerals with a pyrochlore-type structure (formerly ferritungstite, now elsmoreite group minerals) based on (1) a study of representative samples of secondary tungsten minerals from the oxidation [...] Read more.
The purpose of the article is to elucidate the conditions and mechanism of crystallization of W-Fe oxide minerals with a pyrochlore-type structure (formerly ferritungstite, now elsmoreite group minerals) based on (1) a study of representative samples of secondary tungsten minerals from the oxidation zone of the Grantcharitsa tungsten deposit (Bulgaria) and (2) laboratory experiments under conditions suggested by the study of natural samples. It has been shown that crystallization of W-Fe pyrochlores occurs easily and effectively when treating WO3·xFe2O3·nH2O compounds (meymacite and tungstite) with W-Fe-containing solutions with pH 2.5–6.5 (70 °C); at the same time, direct crystallization (direct low-temperature hydrothermal synthesis) of these phases from aqueous solutions is unlikely. The crystallization of W-Fe pyrochlores under natural and laboratory conditions occurs through the oriented attachment of their nanocrystals to the {111} faces of growing crystals. The nucleation of such nanocrystals occurs in the bulk of the solution as a result of the interaction of the W-Fe solution with the W-(Fe) oxide hydrate precursor. The Fe/W ratio in the resulting W-Fe pyrochlore phase depends on the Fe/W ratio in the solution and precursor, as well as on the pH of the solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Evolution and Mineralization during Weathering)
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16 pages, 3154 KiB  
Article
Numerical Simulation Analysis of Control Factors on Acoustic Velocity in Carbonate Reservoirs
by Jiahuan He, Wei Zhang, Dan Zhao, Nong Li, Qiang Kang, Kunpeng Cai, Li Wang, Xin Yao, Guanqun Wang, Bi’an Dong, Wei Li, Hongbin Chen and Wei Long
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040421 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 540
Abstract
The conventional Archie formula struggles with the interpretation of water saturation from resistivity well log data due to the increasing complexity of exploration targets. This challenge has prompted researchers to explore alternative physical parameters, such as acoustic characteristics, for breakthroughs. Clarifying the influencing [...] Read more.
The conventional Archie formula struggles with the interpretation of water saturation from resistivity well log data due to the increasing complexity of exploration targets. This challenge has prompted researchers to explore alternative physical parameters, such as acoustic characteristics, for breakthroughs. Clarifying the influencing factors of porous media acoustic characteristics is one of the most important approaches to help understanding the mechanism of acoustic characteristics of carbonate reservoirs. The article uses digital rock technology to characterize the pore structure, quantitatively identify fractures and pore structures in carbonate rocks, and establish digital models. Through conventional acoustic testing, the pressure wave (P-wave) and shear wave (S-wave) velocities of rock samples at different water saturations are obtained, and the dynamic elastic modulus is calculated. A finite element calculation model is established using the digital rock computational model to provide a basis for fluid saturation calculation methods. Based on real digital rock models, different combinations of virtual fractures are constructed, and factors affecting acoustic parameters are analyzed. The study finds that as porosity increases, the velocity difference between porous cores and fractured cores also increases. These findings provide important technical support and a theoretical basis for interpreting acoustic well logging data and evaluating carbonate reservoirs with different pore and fracture types. Full article
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27 pages, 33432 KiB  
Article
A Multi-Faceted Approach to Determining the Provenance of the Lacustrine Rift Basin in the Initial Rifting Stage: A Case Study of the Paleocene Qintong Sag, Subei Basin, East China
by Rui Jiang, Zhen Liu, Shiqiang Xia, Maolin Zhu, Jianxin Tang, Gongyi Wu and Wei Wu
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040420 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 629
Abstract
Research on the provenance of sedimentary systems is key to better understanding the sedimentary framework and improving exploration-associated decision-making and deployment. With regard to the provenance of sedimentary systems, there is still poor understanding in the initial rifting stage due to imbalanced and [...] Read more.
Research on the provenance of sedimentary systems is key to better understanding the sedimentary framework and improving exploration-associated decision-making and deployment. With regard to the provenance of sedimentary systems, there is still poor understanding in the initial rifting stage due to imbalanced and insufficient exploration and a common lack of seismic data, which have seriously hindered oil exploration in the Qintong Sag, Subei Basin. This study aimed at investigating the provenance in the direction of the fault-terrace zone in the southeast part of the Qintong Sag and aimed to examine whether large-scale sedimentary systems are formed by these sediment sources. Integrated analysis of heavy minerals, sandstone petrologic maturity, drilling cutting dates, 3D seismic data, and well logs was employed to identify the provenance. This study is the first time that large-scale provenance from the direction of the fault-terrace zone has been discovered in the third member of the Paleocene Funing Formation (referred to as the third Mbr of the Funing Fm in this paper) in the Subei Basin, east China. The documentation shows that sediments from the northwest Wubao Low Uplift and the southeast Taizhou Uplift can be distinguished in the Qintong Sag, with the large-scale delta system in the central and eastern part of the Qintong Sag comprising sediments from the Taizhou Uplift, improving upon previous understanding of the sedimentary framework. The deposition formed by the Taizhou Uplift provenance system was characterized by gradual weakening of the hydrodynamic forces, a decreasing sediment supply, and shrinking of the retrogradational delta depositional systems with good reservoir qualities, which are characterized by high-quality source–reservoir–cap combinations and are likely to develop into a hydrocarbon-rich belt. The discovery of the Taizhou Uplift provenance proves that there may be major provenance and large-scale sedimentary systems from the fault-terrace zone of the rift basins in the initial rifting stage. The experience of rapid retrogradation showed that these large-scale delta systems are likely to only flourish in the initial rifting stage. This study is helpful for improving the understanding of sediment provenance and the sedimentary framework of lacustrine rift basins in the initial rifting stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Petroleum Geology and Geochemistry of Sedimentary Basins)
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15 pages, 5194 KiB  
Article
Effect of Pretreatment on a Copper Concentrate with High Arsenic Content
by Víctor Quezada, Geraldine Villagrán, Daniel Calisaya-Azpilcueta and Natalia Marín
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040419 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 608
Abstract
Chilean mining faces challenges associated with the depletion of oxidized copper ore and the environmental complexity of treating concentrates with high arsenic content. Given this, hydrometallurgy emerges as an alternative for the treatment of these concentrates. This research analyzes the interaction of sulfuric [...] Read more.
Chilean mining faces challenges associated with the depletion of oxidized copper ore and the environmental complexity of treating concentrates with high arsenic content. Given this, hydrometallurgy emerges as an alternative for the treatment of these concentrates. This research analyzes the interaction of sulfuric acid (0, 70, 140, and 210 kg/t), sodium chloride (0, 25, 50, and 100 kg/t), curing time (1, 5, 10, and 15 days), and temperature (25, 35, 50, and 75 °C) in the pretreatment of a copper concentrate with 35.57% total copper and 5.91% arsenic (enargite, 35.93%). In the pretreatment, a maximum copper extraction of 26.71% is achieved using 210 kg/t sulfuric acid at 50 °C over 15 days of curing. The experimental results are analyzed through an empirical model, where the interaction between sulfuric acid and curing time is identified as beneficial when the sulfuric acid addition is above 70 kg/t, leading to higher moisture content in the sample. In the absence of sulfuric acid, sodium chloride significantly influences the achievement of higher copper extractions. During curing at higher temperatures, the importance of maintaining a moisture level is emphasized to prevent solution evaporation and hinder diffusion through the particles, thereby ensuring reactivity in the sample. Full article
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16 pages, 18443 KiB  
Article
Study on the Performance of Recycled Cement-Stabilized Macadam Mixture Improved Using Alkali-Activated Lithium Slag–Fly Ash Composite
by Weijun Yang, Zhenzhou Jin, Jianyu Yang, Jiangang He, Xuemei Huang, Xin Ye, Guangyao Li and Chao Wang
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040418 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 594
Abstract
The huge demand for sand and gravel resources in road engineering construction leads to excessive consumption of resources and environmental damage. Recycling waste concrete and industrial solid waste as a road material is a promising alternative. In order to explore the application of [...] Read more.
The huge demand for sand and gravel resources in road engineering construction leads to excessive consumption of resources and environmental damage. Recycling waste concrete and industrial solid waste as a road material is a promising alternative. In order to explore the application of these solid wastes in the road base, this paper studies the effect of adding lithium slag activated by an alkaline activator, fly ash (FA) and a combination of the two on the compressive strength, splitting strength and shrinkage performance of recycled cement-stabilized macadam mixture (RCSM). The optimum content of recycled aggregate (RA), alkali-activated lithium slag (AALS) and FA in composite-improved RCSM was optimized using a response surface method (Box–Behnken), and the microscopic characteristics of the mixture were analyzed using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results show that the optimum dosage of AALS, FA and RA determined by the response surface method is 15%, 10% and 40%, respectively. Compared with the cement-stabilized macadam mixture (CSM) with 40% RA, the 28 d compressive strength and 28 d splitting strength of the composite-improved RCSM are increased by 26.8% and 22.9%, respectively, and the dry shrinkage coefficient and average temperature shrinkage coefficient are decreased by 25.8% and 14.8%, respectively. Microscopic tests show that AALS and FA participate in the hydration reaction, generate more hydrated silicate (C-S-H) and ettringite (AFt), refine pores, effectively improve the performance of the internal interface transition zone of the mixture, make the microstructure of the mixture denser, and improve the strength and shrinkage performance of RCSM. This study provides technical support for the reuse of resources and the sustainable development of road construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy)
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23 pages, 5287 KiB  
Article
Hydrothermal Alteration Processes of Xincheng Gold Deposit Jiaodong Peninsula, China: Constraints from Composition of Hydrothermal Rutile
by Zhen-Jun Liu, Li-Qiang Yang, Dong Xie, Wei Yang, Da-Peng Li, Tao Feng and Jun Deng
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040417 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 686
Abstract
Delineating the process of hydrothermal alteration is crucial for effectively enhancing exploration strategies and better understanding the gold mineralization process. Rutile, with its capacity to accommodate a wide range of trace elements including high-field-strength elements and base metals, serves as a reliable fluid [...] Read more.
Delineating the process of hydrothermal alteration is crucial for effectively enhancing exploration strategies and better understanding the gold mineralization process. Rutile, with its capacity to accommodate a wide range of trace elements including high-field-strength elements and base metals, serves as a reliable fluid tracer in ore systems. As one of the most significant gold ore concentrations globally, Jiaodong boasts a gold reserve exceeding 5500 t. The Xincheng gold deposit is a world-class high-grade mine, boasting a proven gold reserve exceeding 200 t, and stands as one of the largest altered-type gold deposits in the vast gold province of the Jiaodong Peninsula, Eastern China. In this study, rutile (Rt1,2,3) was identified in the K-feldspar alteration, sericitization, and pyrite–sericite–quartz alteration stages of the Xincheng gold deposit in Jiaodong based on petrographic characteristics. Rt1 coexists with hydrothermal K-feldspar and quartz, while Rt2 coexists with minerals such as sericite, quartz, muscovite, and pyrite. Rt3 is widely distributed in hydrothermal veins and is primarily associated with minerals including quartz, pyrite, chalcopyrite, and sericite. Raman spectroscopy, EPMA, and LA-ICP-MS analysis were conducted to investigate the characteristics and evolution of altered hydrothermal fluids. This study indicates that the Zr vs. W and Nb/V vs. W diagrams suggest that Rt1 is of magmatic–hydrothermal origin, while Rt2 and Rt3 are of metamorphic–hydrothermal origin. Notably, the W content in Rt2 and Rt3 is significantly higher than in Rt1 (<100 ppm), suggesting a close relationship between the W content in rutile and mineralization. The three types of rutile exhibit significantly different concentrations of trace elements such as W, V, Nb, Zr, Sn, and Fe, displaying distinct bright spots and elemental zoning characteristics in backscattered electron images and surface scans. These features arise from the isomorphic substitution of Ti4+. While Rt1 exhibits no significant element exchange with the hydrothermal fluids, Rt2 and Rt3 show a stronger substitution of W, Nb, V, and Fe, indicating a gradual enrichment of F and Cl in the fluids. This process activates and transports these elements into the fluids, leading to their continuous accumulation within the system. From Rt1 to Rt3, the increasing concentrations of Fe and W, along with the negative Eu anomaly, suggest a decrease in fluid temperature and oxygen fugacity during the alteration and mineralization process. The gradual increase in the contents of REEs and high-field-strength elements such as W, V, Nb, and Sn indicates that the hydrothermal fluids are enriched in F and Cl, exhibiting weak acidity. The nature of the fluids during hydrothermal alteration is closely related to the composition of rutile, making it a promising tool for studying hydrothermal alteration and related mineralization processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Formation and Evolution of Gold Deposits in China)
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18 pages, 11399 KiB  
Article
Optimization of Ratio and Hydration Mechanism of Titanium-Extracted Residual Slag-Based Filling Cementitious Materials
by Jielin Li, Ao Li, Jianzhang Hao, Jiye Xu, Ming Li and Keping Zhou
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040416 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 674
Abstract
Using metallurgical solid waste Titanium-extracted Residual Slag (TRS) as mine-filling cementitious material is crucial to reduce the filling cost and promote the utilization of solid waste resources. In this paper, taking the strength of the backfill at different curing ages as the response [...] Read more.
Using metallurgical solid waste Titanium-extracted Residual Slag (TRS) as mine-filling cementitious material is crucial to reduce the filling cost and promote the utilization of solid waste resources. In this paper, taking the strength of the backfill at different curing ages as the response target, the Design-expert mixing design was used to optimize the proportioning experiment of titanium-extracted residual slag, titanium gypsum, silicate cement, and total tailings, to analyze the interactions and influences of the materials on the strength of the backfill, and to analyze the hydration mechanism of the titanium-extracted residual slag-based filling cementitious materials under the optimal proportioning. The results show that: (1) the order of the sensitivity of each component to the strength of backfill is: composite activator > cement > titanium gypsum > titanium-extracted residual slag, and there are different degrees of interaction between them; (2) the optimal ratio of titanium-extracted residual slag-based filling cementitious materials is TRS:titanium gypsum:cement:composite activator = 55:25:17:3; (3) early strength formation of backfill is mainly related to its hydration products ettringite and C-S-H, the rapid nucleation and cross-growth of ettringite in the early stage forms an effective physical filling effect, which is the main reason for the formation of high early strength, and the later strength of backfill benefited from the continuous accumulation of C-S-H encapsulation and bonding, which further densified its internal structure; (4) the use of titanium-extracted residual slag-based filling cementitious materials contributes to safe, green, and economic mining. Full article
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18 pages, 17298 KiB  
Article
Accelerated Carbonation of High-Calcite Wollastonite Tailings
by Arnold Ismailov, Niina Merilaita and Erkki Levänen
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040415 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 632
Abstract
Wollastonite (CaSiO3) is the most researched and well-defined mineral in the field of CO2 mineralization, but it is also a sought-after process mineral and thus, not easily justified for large scale ex situ carbon sequestration, which requires an energy-intensive step [...] Read more.
Wollastonite (CaSiO3) is the most researched and well-defined mineral in the field of CO2 mineralization, but it is also a sought-after process mineral and thus, not easily justified for large scale ex situ carbon sequestration, which requires an energy-intensive step of comminution to increase reactivity. Wollastonite-rich mine tailings are a side stream with an already fine particle size resulting from the extractive process, but their effective utilization is problematic due to legislation, logistics, a high number of impurities, and chemical inconsistency. In this study, the accelerated weathering (aqueous carbonation) of high-calcite (CaCO3) wollastonite tailings was studied under elevated temperatures and high partial pressures of CO2 to determine the carbon sequestration potential of those tailings compared to those of pure reference wollastonite originating from the same quarry. The main process variables were pressure (20–100 bar), temperature (40 °C–60 °C), and time (10 min–24 h). Despite consisting largely of non-reactive silicates and primary calcite, very fine tailings showed promise in closed-chamber batch-type aqueous carbonation, achieving a conversion extent of over 28% in one hour at 100 bar and 60 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue CO2 Mineralization and Utilization)
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16 pages, 4226 KiB  
Article
Characterization of a Nickel Sulfide Concentrate and Its Implications on Pentlandite Beneficiation
by Linda D. Ayedzi, Massimiliano Zanin, William Skinner and George B. Abaka-Wood
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040414 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 786
Abstract
In anticipation of future demands, a comprehensive understanding of the chemical and mineralogical characteristics of nickel-bearing minerals is a prerequisite to devising effective nickel beneficiation methods. Of particular importance are markers in the mineralogy of the flotation concentrate that inform beneficiation strategies to [...] Read more.
In anticipation of future demands, a comprehensive understanding of the chemical and mineralogical characteristics of nickel-bearing minerals is a prerequisite to devising effective nickel beneficiation methods. Of particular importance are markers in the mineralogy of the flotation concentrate that inform beneficiation strategies to improve concentrate grades, increasing both the marketability and cost of refining. In this work, a detailed characterization of a complex nickel sulfide flotation concentrate from a Western Australian deposit was carried out to determine the mode of occurrence and distribution of nickel and the associated gangue minerals, with the view of identifying prudent beneficiation strategies to improve concentrate grades. The concentrate was characterized via particle, chemical, and mineralogical techniques. Particle size analysis of the concentrate showed that it consisted predominantly of fine and ultra-fine particles (<20 μm), with the nickel value concentrated in the finer size fractions. Nickel mineralization in the ore (by quantitative X-ray diffraction) was found to be within pentlandite, violarite, millerite, and gersdorffite. The sulfide gangue was predominantly pyrrhotite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, arsenopyrite, and galena. Quantitative evaluation of minerals by scanning microscopy (QEMSCAN) analysis revealed that nickel minerals are at least 91% liberated, and the remaining portion (around 7%) is locked within binary iron (Fe) sulfides and 2% within complex minerals. Based on these findings, potential processing options, such as magnetic separation, gravity separation, and froth flotation, for recovering and upgrading nickel from this concentrate are discussed. Notably, with the significant presence of ultrafine/fine pyrrhotite content, averaging around 52% in the minus 38 µm fraction, novel flotation cells, including the Jameson cell, column flotation cells, and Reflux flotation cell (RFC), have been identified as potential candidates for fine/ultrafine pentlandite recovery. Overall, the characterization study conducted suggests that acquiring knowledge about the mineralogical characteristics of existing mineral concentrates can serve as a pathway to improving future concentrate grades. Full article
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28 pages, 10704 KiB  
Article
A Genetic Mechanism for Chemical Compaction in Mudstones: Case Study from the Xihu Depression, East China Sea Shelf Basin
by Zilong Zhao, Jingzhou Zhao, Hong Zhao, Jun Wang, Chuang Er, Zhe Li and Shixiong Wang
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040413 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 543
Abstract
Mudstone compaction is widely used in the estimation of subsidence caused by sediment load, basin modeling, and overpressure genesis. The boundary for the depth at which chemical compaction in mudstones begins in the Xihu Depression is across two wells; in Well A, the [...] Read more.
Mudstone compaction is widely used in the estimation of subsidence caused by sediment load, basin modeling, and overpressure genesis. The boundary for the depth at which chemical compaction in mudstones begins in the Xihu Depression is across two wells; in Well A, the depth is 2200 m, while in Well D, it is 1750 m. The porosity shows a gradual decreasing trend, followed by a sharp decrease and then an increase. Compared with Well A, the pores in Well D show a faster reduction (resulting in higher compaction) with increasing burial depth. The compaction process is controlled by clay mineral transformation and temperature increase. At a temperature range of 65–105 °C, local dissolution of quartz and pyrite, as well as precipitation of plagioclase, occur in Well D. The quartz, pyrite, and plagioclase contents in Well A do not significantly change, while K-feldspar corrosion and illitization are dominant. At a temperature range of 125–135 °C, diagenesis is reversed. The mixed layer increases across a low range, while chlorite and kaolinite contents increase; the dissolution of dolomite and the intermittent dissolution of calcite cause a local increase in pore size at 4460 m in Well A and 3300 m in Well D. The report values of geothermal gradient raise the depth limit of chemical compaction in Well D compared to that in Well A, thus accelerating the process of illitization and the cementation rate of quartz, and becoming the leading cause of the steeply decreasing trend of porosity in Well D. A compaction model for the Xihu Depression has also been established, which involves mechanical compaction, coexistence of chemical compaction and mechanical compaction, and chemical compaction. In the chemical compaction stage, the chemical/diagenetic compaction of mudstones locally increases the pore size. Moreover, abnormally enlarged pores became important reservoirs in the Xihu Depression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Petrological and Geochemical Characteristics of Reservoirs)
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13 pages, 4159 KiB  
Article
Clarification of Mining Process Water Using Electrocoagulation
by Oscar Joaquín Solis-Marcial, Alfonso Talavera-López, José Pablo Ruelas-Leyva, José Alfredo Hernández-Maldonado, Alfonso Najera-Bastida, Roberto Zarate-Gutierrez and Benito Serrano Rosales
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040412 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 818
Abstract
A lack of fresh water is one of the most significant problems currently affecting humanity. Water scarcity also affects industries, with the mining industry being one of the most affected. One possible solution to water scarcity is the recirculation of water. Water in [...] Read more.
A lack of fresh water is one of the most significant problems currently affecting humanity. Water scarcity also affects industries, with the mining industry being one of the most affected. One possible solution to water scarcity is the recirculation of water. Water in mining is usually treated with physicochemical methods, but in metallurgical processes, reagents are added, accumulate until reaching the point of saturation, and are often not successfully removed. In this sense, electrocoagulation has shown great efficiency in the treatment of organic contaminants, heavy metals, and metallic ions, and was applied in this study to eliminate ions and undesirable organic compounds present in mining–metallurgical process water. Furthermore, this process has shown great efficacy in relation to toxic metals like arsenic because their presence reduces the efficiency of other processes such as flotation. In this study, two types of electrodes were used: stainless steel and aluminum. The best results were achieved with stainless steel electrodes, which were able to eliminate 90% of copper ions in water. The turbidity of the water during the process was measured to determine the amount of solid present in the water, and a reduction of around 95% was observed when using aluminum electrodes. The sedimentation of clots occurred in two stages: Firstly, the coagulant was formed to trap organic matter as its size increased, until a particle size that was sufficient for settling was achieved. A zero-order kinetic model was fit for this stage of the process. Secondly, the formed clots continued to settle, and a second-order kinetic model was fit for this stage. Flotation tests were carried out on the process and electrotreated water to evaluate the recovery of Zn, Pb, Ag, and Au. An increase of 1.5% was found for gold, and an increase of 2% was found for silver, while a significant improvement was identified for zinc, augmenting recuperation by 30% when electrotreated water was used. For lead, no considerable change in recovery was observed in either form of water. The formed clots were analyzed using Scanning Electronic Microscopy, and we found that metal ions were trapped in the clots. This study demonstrates the potential of electrocoagulation for clarifying mine water, which is ordinarily very difficult to clarify. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Mining, Waste Recovery and Efficient Disposal of Metal Mines)
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12 pages, 11564 KiB  
Article
Electrical Structure between the Main and Eastern Deposits of the Bayan Obo Mine: Results from Time-Domain CSEM Methods
by Weiying Chen, Wanting Song, Pengfei Lv, Jinjing Shi and Yulian Zhu
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040411 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 571
Abstract
Bayan Obo is a well-known polymetallic deposit containing significant quantities of rare earth elements, niobium, thorium, and iron. However, the epoch in which mineralization occurred and the mineralization process are still debated due to the complex nature of its mineralization and geological evolution. [...] Read more.
Bayan Obo is a well-known polymetallic deposit containing significant quantities of rare earth elements, niobium, thorium, and iron. However, the epoch in which mineralization occurred and the mineralization process are still debated due to the complex nature of its mineralization and geological evolution. Inadequate geophysical exploration has further contributed to this lack of clarity surrounding critical issues, such as the deep link between the main orebody and the eastern orebody, the form and distribution of the extensive dolomite, and the geologic structures in the area. Therefore, we implemented the time-domain controlled-source electromagnetic method (CSEM) to acquire electrical structures at depths down to 2.5 km between the Main and Eastern mines. According to the inverted resistivity structure, in conjunction with existing geological and drilling data, we classified the main lithologies and faults based on their resistivity characteristics. Overall, the mineralized carbonatite reflects high to moderately high resistivity. The mineralized carbonatite dips overall from north to south, with a maximum extension depth not exceeding 1.5 km, and its range of occurrence is controlled by nearly east–west-striking faults distributed along the bounding line between the roof and floor rocks. The Main and Eastern mines are connected at depth, but the morphology and position of the ore bodies have significantly changed due to multiple phases of tectonic activity. The electrical structure does not reveal any obvious syncline structures, further refuting the traditional view that the Bayan syncline controls ore formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications)
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15 pages, 1755 KiB  
Article
The First Data of Strontium Isotopic Composition of Osteological Material from Late Bronze to Early Iron Age Settlements in the Crimea Region
by Marianna A. Kulkova, Maya T. Kashuba, Yulia V. Kozhukhovskaya, Vitaliy A. Tikhomirov and Alexander M. Kulkov
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040410 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 647
Abstract
Comparison of the 87Sr/86Sr signatures of archaeological osteological material with features of geological provinces can be applied to determine the places of birth and living of individuals. Such reconstructions were conducted for both humans and domestic animals at the Late [...] Read more.
Comparison of the 87Sr/86Sr signatures of archaeological osteological material with features of geological provinces can be applied to determine the places of birth and living of individuals. Such reconstructions were conducted for both humans and domestic animals at the Late Bronze–Early Iron Age sites of the Crimea. The Crimean Peninsula is an interesting testing polygon for such research because it is characterized by a diverse geological situation within a relatively small area. The initial data allowed us to distinguish between three groups of mobility at the Bai-Kiyat I settlement and two groups at the Dolgii Bugor site. The Bai-Kiyat I site is located on the seacoast, so the proxy line for this area will correspond to the value of the ratio of strontium isotopes in seawater (0.7092). The inhabitants of this settlement, including a child from a burial on the settlement, are characterized by this value of strontium isotopes. Other groups include nonlocal people. The data obtained indicate that the steppe zone of the Northern Black Sea region was an ecumene, within which active mobility of groups of people was registered. This mobility is associated primarily with the pastoral type of economy in the period from the Chalcolithic to the Early Iron Age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment and Geochemistry of Sediments, 2nd Edition)
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26 pages, 7956 KiB  
Article
Prospects for Geological Storage of CO2 in Carbonate Formations of the Adriatic Offshore
by Bruno Saftić, Nikolina Bralić, David Rukavina, Iva Kolenković Močilac and Marko Cvetković
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040409 - 16 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Croatia has both significant CO2 emissions from the point sources and a history of oil and gas exploration, and this is why the CCS technology surfaced as a viable solution for curbing CO2 emissions on a national level. Since approximately half [...] Read more.
Croatia has both significant CO2 emissions from the point sources and a history of oil and gas exploration, and this is why the CCS technology surfaced as a viable solution for curbing CO2 emissions on a national level. Since approximately half of emissions from the stationary industrial sources occur along the Adriatic coastline, the entire offshore area became an exploration target. Regional studies revealed the potential storage plays, one of which is in the aquifer of the Mesozoic carbonate complex with dual porosity extending all along the Croatian offshore area. Three structures were chosen in its central part–Klara, Kate and Perina. For the first two, the models were constructed based on the data from old exploration wells and a regional structural map, while for the Perina structure, a new seismic interpretation was added to better characterise its properties. It came out that the Kate structure appears to be the most prospective in general (45 Mt), with neighbouring Klara as the second (39 Mt), while the initially promising Perina (7 Mt) turned out to be of far lesser importance. The Perina structure case is an example that new seismic interpretation can reduce the capacity estimate if it reveals certain limiting factors, in this case, the limitation of structural closure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Dioxide Storage, Utilization & Reduction)
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20 pages, 9159 KiB  
Article
Petrogenesis of the Newly Discovered Neoproterozoic Adakitic Rock in Bure Area, Western Ethiopia Shield: Implication for the Pan-African Tectonic Evolution
by Junsheng Jiang, Wenshuai Xiang, Peng Hu, Yulin Li, Fafu Wu, Guoping Zeng, Xinran Guo, Zicheng Zhang and Yang Bai
Minerals 2024, 14(4), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14040408 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 581
Abstract
The Neoproterozoic Bure adakitic rock in the western Ethiopia shield is a newly discovered magmatic rock type. However, the physicochemical conditions during its formation, and its source characteristics are still not clear, restricting a full understanding of its petrogenesis and geodynamic evolution. In [...] Read more.
The Neoproterozoic Bure adakitic rock in the western Ethiopia shield is a newly discovered magmatic rock type. However, the physicochemical conditions during its formation, and its source characteristics are still not clear, restricting a full understanding of its petrogenesis and geodynamic evolution. In this study, in order to shed light on the physicochemical conditions during rock formation and provide further constraints on the petrogenesis of the Bure adakitic rock, we conduct electron microprobe analysis on K-feldspar, plagioclase, and biotite. Additionally, we investigate the trace elements and Hf isotopes of zircon, and the Sr-Nd isotopes of the whole rock. The results show that the K-feldspar is orthoclase (Or = 89.08~96.37), the plagioclase is oligoclase (Ab = 74.63~85.99), and the biotite is magnesio-biotite. Based on the biotite analysis results, we calculate that the pressure during rock formation was 1.75~2.81 kbar (average value of 2.09 kbar), representing a depth of approximately 6.39~10.2 km (average value of 7.60 km). The zircon thermometer yields a crystallization temperature of 659~814 °C. Most of the (Ce/Ce*)D values in the zircons plotted above the Ni-NiO oxygen buffer pair, and the calculated magmatic oxygen fugacity (logfO2) values vary from −18.5 to −4.9, revealing a relatively high magma oxygen fugacity. The uniform contents of FeO, MgO, and K2O in the biotite suggest a crustal magma source for the Bure adakitic rock. The relatively low (87Sr/86Sr)i values of 0.70088 to 0.70275, positive εNd(t) values of 3.26 to 7.28, together with the positive εHf(t) values of 7.64~12.99, suggest that the magma was sourced from a Neoproterozoic juvenile crust, with no discernable involvement of a pre-Neoproterozoic continental crust, which is coeval with early magmatic stages in the Arabian Nubian Shield elsewhere. Additionally, the mean Nd model ages demonstrate an increasing trend from the northern parts (Egypt, Sudan, Afif terrane of Arabia, and Eritrea and northern Ethiopia; 0.87 Ga) to the central parts (Western Ethiopia shield; 1.03 Ga) and southern parts (Southern Ethiopia Shield, 1.13 Ga; Kenya, 1.2 Ga) of the East African Orogen, which indicate an increasing contribution of pre-Pan-African crust towards the southern part of the East African Orogen. Based on the negative correlation between MgO and Al2O3 in the biotite, together with the Lu/Hf-Y and Yb-Y results of the zircon, we infer that the Bure adakitic rock was formed in an arc–arc collision orogenic environment. Combining this inference with the whole rock geochemistry and U-Pb age of the Bure adakitic rock, we further propose that the rock is the product of thickened juvenile crust melting triggered by the Neoproterozoic Pan-African Orogeny. Full article
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