Evaluation of pyritic tailings from a copper concentraction plant for calcareous soil reclamation
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Ataturk University
Middle East Technical University
Ankara University
Publication date: 2014-01-06
Corresponding author
Gulsen Tozsin   

Department of Mining Engineering, Ataturk University, 25400, Erzurum, Turkey
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2014;50(2):693-704
This study was aimed to investigate the feasibility to use waste pyrite and sulphuric acid produced from waste pyrite for the reclamation of calcareous sodic soils. The final aim is to displace Na from an exchange complex and replace it with Ca, leading to a decrease in pH and exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) and an improvement of soil structure. A fertility of the soil may also be enhanced by this technique since waste pyrite can be rich in several micronutrients. An additional advantage to this strategy is that waste pyrite is inexpensive and readily available in large quantities, by contrast to gypsum. In this study, column-leaching tests were carried out to evaluate a change in soil properties upon addition of gypsum and pyritic tailing amendments from a copper concentration plant. An availability of essential micronutrients for a plant growth (Fe, Cu, Zn and Mn) and hazardous potential of pyritic tailings in terms of heavy metal contamination were taken into account. Gypsum, powder waste pyrite and sulfuric acid produced from waste pyrite were applied to the soil with reference to the gypsum requirement (GR) of the soils. The results showed that application of waste pyrite with a dose of 44.74 megagrams per ha was superior to gypsum of 55.20 Mg/ha dose in terms of exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) in 42 weeks. In addition, application of all the concentrations of sulfuric acid produced from waste pyrite also decreased the ESP values. The best values with sulfuric acid were obtained with a dose of 35.31 Mg/ha in 26 weeks. It was observed that the content of all micronutrients in the soil increased significantly (P<0.01) with waste pyrite and sulfuric acid applications. The levels of the micronutrients after treatments can be classified sufficient for the plant growth except for the iron level with the minimum dose of sulfuric acid application 17 Mg/ha. The heavy metal content in the soil after treatment with the pyritic tailings was found to be lower than the legal limit values. Thus, waste pyrite can be effectively used since rapid amelioration of calcareous sodic soils is possible with no deleterious heavy metal contamination.
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