Applied Environmental Research

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The mineralogical and chemical compositions of various ocher gossans from a gold mine in northeastern Thailand were investigated, including some heavy metals and other toxic elements. Mineralogical characteristics were carried out using X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) whereas chemical compositions were analyzed using Electron Probe Micro-Analyzer (EPMA). These ocher gossans can be classified, initially based on Munsell color, into five types: type-I (pale-yellow color), type-II (brownish-yellow color), type-III (yellowish-brown color), type-IV (dusky-red color) and type-V (red color). The primary silicate minerals (i.e., quartz, garnet epidote and amphibole) are found in type -I, -II, -III and -IV. They appear to be composed of skarn rock. On the other hand, the secondary minerals (i.e., goethite, jarosite, ankerite, montmorillonite, magnetite, gypsum and secondary quartz) are observed in types-II, -III, -IV and -V. As and Cu are found crucially in types-III, -IV and -V in which both elements can be adsorbed by goethite and/or jarosite. As the result, the gossan rocks in this area are natural adsorbents with high potential to reduce As and Cu contamination into the ecosystem. Therefore, the gossan, a natural attenuation material, is recommended for site remediation because of its low cost and local abundance. Feasibility studies should be conducted to further investigate the potential.

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