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An object-oriented particle tracking approach to modelling pyrite oxidation and pollutant transport in mine spoil heaps

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Catherine Gandy


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At present there is no suitable method to predict either the longevity of contaminant sources within spoil heaps, or the evolution of their strength over the contaminating lifetime of the sites. Existing techniques provide little information relevant to the prediction of field contaminant concentrations and time scales, which is essential for an optimum choice of remediation options. A physically-based contaminant transport model, POTOMAC (Pyrite Oxidation products Transport: Object-oriented Model for Abandoned Colliery sites), has been developed to simulate the pyrite oxidation process in mine spoil heaps and the subsequent transport of the reaction products. This is believed to represent the first particle tracking model created using object-oriented technology. The model conceptualises a spoil heap as a series of ‘columns’, each representing a portion of the unsaturated zone, where active weathering and precipitation of secondary minerals takes place. The columns are then connected to a saturated zone, beneath the water table, where the contaminants are transported to the heap discharge. POTOMAC has been applied to a case study, the Morrison Busty spoil heap in County Durham, UK.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gandy CJ

Editor(s): Loredo J; Pendas F

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Proceedings of the 9th International Mine Water Association Congress

Year of Conference: 2005

Number of Volumes: 1

Pages: 161-167

Publisher: IMWA: the International Mine Water Association