Justification of measures to minimize the impact of acidic mine waters on the hydrosphere: A case-study of Levikha Copper–Sulphide Mine, Sverdlovsk Region

Acid mine waters from closed copper–pyrite mines lead to serious disturbances in the hydrobiological regime of ground surface water bodies. As a result, mineralization, acidity and excessive background concentrations of metals in rivers gests higher by a few orders of magnitude. The currently used acid mine water neutralization system at Levikha mine provides deficient purification which is below the standard values due to imperfect technological regulations and owing to insufficient amount of lime in preparation of lime milk. Furthermore, the existing retention pond is filled with sludge and has insufficient volume left for water precipitation after neutralization. After being discharged from the pond and re-neutralized, mine waters flow along the straightened Levikha river bed, which reduces the time of water interaction with lime milk. However, the degree of purification is effective for aluminum ions (98%) and is less effective for sulfates (45%). After the discharge of the treated mine water from the mine into the river Tagil (mouth of the Levikha River), the excess of MAC is: 8500 times for zinc, 5700 times for copper, 3500 times for manganese, 580 times for iron, 100 times for aluminum and 27 times for sulfates. To improve the environmental situation at Levikha mine, it is necessary to use a sufficient amount of lime for the neutralization; to supplement the active treatment system with a passive system in the form of a cascade of ponds below the neutralized wastewater discharge; to re-arrange the clarification pond to achieve the required water sedimentation rate after neutralization.

Keywords: copper–sulphide deposit, pollutants, Tagil river basin, acid mine drainage, linked ponds, neutralization, combination of active and passive methods.
For citation:

Rybnikova L. S., Navolokina V. Yu. Justification of measures to minimize the impact of acidic mine waters on the hydrosphere: A case-study of Levikha Copper–Sulphide Mine, Sverdlovsk Region. MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2021;(5—2):245—256. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/0236_1493_2021_52_0_245.


The studies have been accomplished in the framework of the Fundamental Research Program of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Topics Nos. 0405-2019-0005 and 03282019-0005, as per the research plan for 2019–2021.

Issue number: 5
Year: 2021
Page number: 245-256
ISBN: 0236-1493
UDK: 504.06
DOI: 10.25018/0236_1493_2021_52_0_245
Article receipt date: 25.12.2020
Date of review receipt: 19.03.2021
Date of the editorial board′s decision on the article′s publishing: 10.04.2021
About authors:

Rybnikova L. S.1, Dr. Sci. (Geol. Mineral.), chief researcher, the laboratory of mining ecology, luserib@mail.ru.
Navolokina V. Yu.1, junior researcher, the laboratory of information and digital technologies in subsoil use, vunavolokina@gmail.com;
1 Institute of Mining UB RAS, Ekaterinburg, Russia.


For contacts:

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