Authors: Buchanan, Jr., RJ; Gusek, JJ; Sorells, D; Madden, M


Cite As:
Buchanan, Jr., RJ, Gusek, JJ, Sorells, D & Madden, M 2011, 'Full-scale sulphate-reducing bioreactor at the Iron King/Copper Chief Mine, USA', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Mine Closure 2011: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 199-206,

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A full-scale passive treatment system (PTS) including a sulphate-reducing bioreactor (SRBR) was constructed at the Iron King/Copper Chief Mine (IKCC) near Cottonwood, Arizona, as part of a voluntary remediation effort to implement this innovative technology for passively treating mining influenced water (MIW) from two former, historic, underground copper mines. Construction commenced in the first quarter of 2009 and was concluded by the end of the second quarter. The SRBR design was based on the positive results of an in-field pilot study conducted in 2006. The SRBR cell was configured as a top-fed vertical flow reactor; the feed to the system is commingled MIW from the two mines that is conveyed via a 500 m long subsurface pipeline. The SRBR itself is also situated subsurface, with a lightweight fill cover consisting of a pumice layer overlain by wood chips, a geo-membrane liner, and topped off with 46 cm of plant growth medium which was hydro-seeded. The SRBR output reports to a small, concrete-lined mixing pond which inputs to a multi-terraced, aerobic polishing cell (APC) that is populated with native vegetation. Passively treated MIW that sporadically reports to the bottom of the APC is used to irrigate native vegetation adjacent to the arid site. The system was commissioned in mid 2009, is now fully functional, and over one year of operational data has been collected, analysed and will be related via this paper.

CCA (2001) Clear Creek Associates, Revised Work Plan, Iron King Dewatering and Treatment Project, dated June 20, 2001, CCA, Tucson, AZ.
GAI (2006) Golder Associates Inc., Technical Memorandum: Iron King Bench Scale Passive Treatment Summary Report, dated August 8, 2006, GAI, Lakewood, CO.
Gusek, J.J. and Figueroa, L.A. (eds) (2009) Mitigation of Metal Mining Influenced Water, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., Littleton, Colorado, 164 p.

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