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A Method to Quantify Wall Rock Mineralogy in an Active Open Pit Mine, and its Application Toward Pit Lake Prediction, Waihi, New Zealand

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  • Subaqueous water-rock reactions that occur at the pit wall/lake water interface can affect the pH of pit lakes. Many pit lake water chemistry models neglect subaqueous reactions, which may create inaccurate predictions over time. A mineral quantification method is presented that defines the wall rock mineralogy of active open pit mines, using samples collected from the Martha Mine, a low-sulfidation epithermal Au-Ag deposit in Waihi, New Zealand. The mineral quantification method has five components: 1. field observations and sampling, 2. X-ray diffraction analyses, 3. selection of representative samples, 4. geochemical analyses, and 5. mineral accounting. Predicted mineral concentrations closely match observed mineral concentrations visually estimated using petrographic techniques. Results of the method can be incorporated into a geochemical model of long-range pit lake water quality resulting from subaqueous water-rock reactions.

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