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Topic review
Updated time: 29 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Angeline Van Dongen
Definition: Froth treatment tailings (FTT) are a specific type of tailings waste stream from the bitumen froth treatment process that contains bioavailable diluent: either naphtha or paraffins. Tailings ponds that receive FTT are associated with the highest levels of biogenic gas production, as diverse microbial communities biodegrade the residual diluent.
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Topic review
Updated time: 07 May 2021
Submitted by: Behrooz Abbasi
Definition: Respirable coal mine dust (RCMD) exposure is associated with black lung and silicosis diseases in underground miners. Although only RCMD mass and silica concentrations are regulated, it is possible that particle size, surface area, and other chemical constituents also contribute to its adverse health effects. This review summarizes measurement technologies for RCMD mass concentrations, morphology, size distributions, and chemical compositions, with examples from published efforts where these methods have been applied. Some state-of-the-art technologies presented in this paper have not been certified as intrinsically safe, and caution should be exerted for their use in explosive environments. RCMD mass concentrations are most often obtained by filter sampling followed by gravimetric analysis, but recent requirements for real-time monitoring by continuous personal dust monitors (CPDM) enable quicker exposure risk assessments. Emerging low-cost photometers provide an opportunity for a wider deployment of real-time exposure assessment. Particle size distributions can be determined by microscopy, cascade impactors, aerodynamic spectrometers, optical particle counters, and electrical mobility analyzers, each with unique advantages and limitations. Different filter media are required to collect integrated samples over working shifts for comprehensive chemical analysis. Teflon membrane filters are used for mass by gravimetry, elements by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence, rare-earth elements by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry and mineralogy by X-ray diffraction. Quartz fiber filters are analyzed for organic, elemental, and brown carbon by thermal/optical methods and non-polar organics by thermal desorption-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Polycarbonate-membrane filters are analyzed for morphology and elements by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray, and quartz content by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy.
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Topic review
Updated time: 12 Jul 2021
Submitted by: Zhengdong Han
Definition: Tungsten is recognized as a critical metal due to its unique properties, economic importance, and limited sources of supply. It has wide applications where hardness, high density, high wear, and high-temperature resistance are required, such as in mining, construction, energy generation, electronics, aerospace, and defense sectors. The two primary tungsten minerals, and the only minerals of economic importance, are wolframite and scheelite. Secondary tungsten minerals are rare and generated by hydrothermal or supergene alteration rather than by atmospheric weathering. There are no reported concerns for tungsten toxicity. However, tungsten tailings and other residues may represent severe risks to human health and the environment. Tungsten metal scrap is the only secondary source for this metal but reprocessing of tungsten tailings may also become important in the future.
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