Conditions Affecting the Release of Heavy and Rare Earth Metals from the Mine Tailings Kola Subarctic

Toxics. 2021 Jul 9;9(7):163. doi: 10.3390/toxics9070163.


In the Kola Subarctic, a mining industry has developed, which is a source of environmental pollution with heavy metals. The objects of study were the tailings of three large mining enterprises in the region: apatite-nepheline, complex and loparite ores. The geotechnical characteristics were studied, and the granulometric composition of the samples was established. The main minerals that make up the material of ore dressing tailings have been determined. Using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, the content of trace elements, in particular heavy metals and rare earth elements, has been established. The enrichment factor, the geoaccumulation indexes, the potential ecological risk index factor and the potential environmental hazard index have been calculated. Priority pollutants characteristics for specific objects have been identified. It is noted that the finely dispersed material of the tailings of loparite and complex ores is 1.5-3 times enriched in heavy and rare earth metals in comparison with the total material of the tailings. In laboratory conditions, experiments were carried out to simulate the process of interaction of dust particles with soil solutions containing different amounts of dissolved organic matter and at average seasonal temperatures. It was found that a decrease in the pH of the solution and an increase in the amount of organic carbon and temperature lead to the mobilization of heavy and rare earth metals from the tailings.

Keywords: availability; climate; heavy metal pollution; rare earth elements; risk assessment.