Potential recovery of aluminum, titanium, lead, and zinc from tailings in the abandoned Picher mining district of Oklahoma

Mineral Economics
By: , and 

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Abstract

The abandoned Picher mining district in northeastern Oklahoma, part of the Tri-State mining district, was the largest source of sulfide ores of lead and zinc in the U.S.A. in the early twentieth century. After abandonment in the 1960s, numerous environmental problems caused by the abandoned mines and large tailings piles affected the district and surrounding areas with contamination of water, soils, vegetation, wildlife, and humans with lead and other metals. Current (2011) cleanup efforts in the district include separation of coarse and fine tailings particles, sales of the coarse particles (which consist mostly of dolomite and chert) for use as aggregate in asphalt, and burial of metals-rich fine tailings below ground to reduce exposure to and transport of toxic metals. Analysis in this paper indicates that reprocessing these tailings to extract remaining aluminum, titanium, lead, and zinc may be feasible. The value of lead and zinc in the tailings of this abandoned mining district probably are not sufficient to justify recovery of metals from the tailings at current market prices, but potential recovery of aluminum and titanium from these tailings may provide sufficient returns to justify the costs associated with reprocessing the fine tailings remaining in this district.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Potential recovery of aluminum, titanium, lead, and zinc from tailings in the abandoned Picher mining district of Oklahoma
Series title Mineral Economics
DOI 10.1007/s13563-013-0031-7
Volume 26
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Oklahoma Water Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 61
Last page 69
Country United States
State Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
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