Toxicity assessment of mine tailings ponds in Transbaikalia

Authors: Abramov B. N.

Ore mining operations for more than three hundred years in Transbaikalia have generated huge waste which has an adverse effect on the environment. The goal of this research is to calculate the potential hazard of tailings ponds in gold, molybdenum, complex ore, tin–complex ore, tungsten and rare metal ore mining. The potential hazard calculations use the procedure developed at the All-Russian Scientific-Research Institute of Mineral Resources with regard to concentrations of toxic elements in manmade soil of tailings ponds, crystal abundances, concentrations and lithotoxicity of elements in manmade soil. The composition of elements in the test samples is determined by the X-ray fluorescent analysis at the Geological Institute, SB RAS in Ulan-Ude and by the ISP–MS method at laboratories of SGS Vostok Limited in Chita. The potential hazard assessment used the data on lithotoxicity of elements and on summed concentrations of toxic elements. The research shows that the highest potential environmental hazard arises from tailings ponds in complex ore mining, while the tailings ponds of rare metal ore mining is the least hazardous. Among the first-class toxicity elements in manmade soil of the tailings ponds, arsenic features the highest concentrations. The content of arsenic in manmade soil of complex ore tailings ponds exceeds the average arsenic content of the Earth’s crust by 152–5340 times.

Keywords: Transbaikalia ore deposits, tailings ponds, toxic elements, potential toxic hazard.
For citation:

Abramov B. N. Toxicity assessment of mine tailings ponds in Transbaikalia. MIAB. Mining Inf.Anal. Bull.2021;(11):136-145.[InRuss]. DOI:10.25018/0236_1493_2021_11_0_136.

Issue number: 11
Year: 2021
Page number: 136-145
ISBN: 0236-1493
UDK: 504.1(571.55)
DOI: 10.25018/0236_1493_2021_11_0_136
Article receipt date: 02.06.2021
Date of review receipt: 21.07.2021
Date of the editorial board′s decision on the article′s publishing: 10.10.2021
About authors:

B.N. Abramov, Dr. Sci. (Geol. Mineral.), Leading Researcher, Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Chita, 672014, Russia, e-mail:


For contacts:

1. Abramov B. N., Eremin O. V., Filenko R. A., Tsyrenov T. G. Assessment of potential environmental hazards of natural and man-made complexes of ore deposits (Eastern Transbaikalia, Russia). Geosfernye issledovaniya. 2020, no. 2, pp. 64—67. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.17223/ 25421379/15/5.

2. Abramov B. N. The concentrations of heavy metals in the Akatuyevskoye polymetallic deposit technogenic landscapes (Eastern Trans baikal). Vestnik Voronezhskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta: Geografiya. Geoekologiya. 2018, no. 4, pp. 67—71. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.17308/ geo.2018.4/2269.

3. Abramov B. N., Epova E. S., Manzyrev D. V. Geoecological problems of mining gold ore deposits in Eastern Transbaikalia. Geografiya i prirodnye resursy. 2019, no. 2, pp. 110—113. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.21782/GIPR0206-1619-2019-2(103-111).

4. Goleva R. V., Ivanov V. V., Kupriyanov I. I., Marinov B. N., Novikov M. I., Shpaniv E. P., Shuriga T. N. Ekologicheskaya otsenka potentsial'noy toksichnosti rudnykh mestorozhdeniy (metodicheskie rekomendatsii) [Environmental assessment of potential toxicity of ore deposits (guidelines)], Moscow, RITsVIMS, 2001, 53 p.

5. Mayorova L. P., Cherentsova A. A., Krupskaya L. T., Golubev D. A., Kolobanov K. A. Assessment of manmade air pollution due to dusting at mine tailings storage facilities. MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2021, no. 1, pp. 5—20. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/0236-1493-2021-1-0-5-20.

6. Plokhov A. S., Kharko P. A., Pashkevich M. A. Effect of tailings storage facility on surface water at copper–pyrite deposit. MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2021, no. 4, pp. 57—68. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/0236-1493-2021-4-0-57.

7. Ulanov A. Yu., Bahmin V. I., Korobova O. S. Improvement of subsoil use waste management. MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2020, no. 6, pp. 48—55. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/02361493-2020-6-0-48-55.

8. Kharitonov Yu. F., Vasilyev D. A. etc. Ecological and economic assessment of the mining complex of the Chita region. Resursy Zabajkal'ya. 2002. Special edition, pp. 42—47. [In Russ].

9. Chechel L. P. Distribution of rare alkaline elements in the waters of mining facilities in Eastern Transbaikalia. Geosfernye issledovaniya. 2020, no. 4, pp. 98—107. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.17223/25421379/17/8.

10. Montes-Avila I., Espinosa-Serrano E., Castro-Larragoitia J., Lázaro I., Cardona A. Chemical mobility of inorganic elements in stream sediments of a semiarid zone impacted by ancient mine residues. Applied Geochemistry. 2019, vol. 100, pp. 8–21. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.11.002.

11. Ahn Y., Yun H., Pandi K., Park S., Ji M., Choi J. Heavy metal speciation with prediction model for heavy metal mobility and risk assessment in mine-affected soils. Environmental Science and Pollution Research International. 2020, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 3213–3223. DOI: 10.1007/ s11356-019-06922-0.

12. Shahhosseini M., Ardejani F. D., Amini M., Ebrahimi L. The spatial assessment of acid mine drainage potential within a low-grade ore dump: the role of preferential flow paths. Environmental Earth Sciences. 2020, vol. 79, no. 28. DOI: 10.1007/s12665-019-8782-2.

13. Gutiérrez M., Qiu X., Collette Z. J., Lurvey Z. T. Metal content of stream sediments as a tool to assess remediation in an area recovering from historic mining contamination. Minerals. 2020, vol. 10, no. 247. DOI: 10.3390/min10030247.

14. García-Lorenzo M. L., Crespo-Feo E., Esbrí J., Higueras P., Grau P., Crespo I., SánchezDonoso R. Assessment of potentially toxic elements in technosolsby tailings derived from PbZn-Ag mining activities at San Quintín (Ciudad Real, Spain): Some insights into the importance of integral studies to evaluate metal contamination pollution hazards. Minerals. 2019, vol. 9, no. 6. DOI: 10.3390/min9060346.

15. Gutiérrez M., Mickus K., Camacho L. M. Abandoned Pb-Zn mining wastes and their mobility as proxy to toxicity. A review. Science of the Total Environment. 2016, vol. 565, pp. 392— 400. DOI: 10.1016/j. scitotenv. 2016.04.143.

16. Okhrana prirody. Pochvy. Klassifikatsiya khimicheskikh veshchestv dlya kontrolya zagryazneniya GOST [Nature protection. Soils. Classification of chemicals for pollution control. State Standart], 01.01.85. [In Russ].

17. Voytkevich G. V., Miroshnikov A. E., Povarennykh A. S., Prokhorov V. G. Kratkiy spravochnik po geokhimii [A brief reference book on geochemistry], Moscow, Nedra, 1977, 184 p.

18. SanPiN 2.1.3684-21 Sanitarno-epidemiologicheskie trebovaniya k soderzhaniyu territorii gorodskikh i sel'skikh poseleniy, k vodnym ob"ektam, pit'evoy vode i pit'evomu vodosnabzheniyu, atmosfernomu vozdukhu, pochvam, zhilym pomeshcheniyam, ekspluatatsii proizvodstvennykh, obshchestvennykh pomeshcheniy, organizatsii i provedeniyu sanitarno-protivoepidemicheskikh (profilakticheskikh) meropriyatiy [SanPiN 2.1.3684-21 Sanitary and epidemiological requirements for the maintenance of urban and rural areas, water bodies, drinking water and population' drinking water supply, atmospheric air, soils, residential premises, operation of industrial, public premises, organization and implementation of sanitary and anti-epidemiological (preventive) measures], available at: = text (accessed 20.04.2021). [In Russ].

Подписка на рассылку

Раз в месяц Вы будете получать информацию о новом номере журнала, новых книгах издательства, а также о конференциях, форумах и других профессиональных мероприятиях.