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  Prevention of Acid Mine Drainage Generation From Open-Pit Highwalls – Final Report, Mine Waste Technology Program, Activity III, Project 26 (EPA/600/R-05/060) July 2005

This document summarizes the results of the Mine Waste Technology Program, Activity III, Project 26, Prevention of Acid Mine Drainage Generation From Open-Pit Highwalls. The intent of this project was to obtain performance data on the ability of four technologies to prevent the generation of acid mine drainage (AMD) from an open-pit highwall. The four technologies were:

  • Ecobond ARD, developed by Metals Treatment Technologies, LLC, of Denver, Colorado
  • A magnesium oxide passivation technology, developed by the University of Nevada-Reno (UNR)
  • A potassium permanganate technology, developed and patented by DuPont Technology and applied by UNR (the current patent holder)
  • A furfuryl alcohol resin sealant, developed by Intermountain Polymers of Idaho Falls, Idaho

The demonstration was conducted at the Golden Sunlight Mine, an active open-pit gold mine. The four technology providers applied their technologies to a designated 50-foot-high by 50-foot-wide area on the highwall.

The primary objective of this demonstration was to determine the effect of the treatments on the designated plot areas compared with an untreated area of the highwall. Also, each technology provider was required to apply the technology to a specially prepared sample that underwent humidity cell testing.

Each technology inhibited AMD differently, depending on the chemistry of the treatment formulation, sulfide content, morphology, pH of the waste material, weather conditions, and amount of water draining from the highwall. Overall, each of the technologies decreased the generation of acid and the mobility of metals from the highwall. However, the results from the highwall residual wash sampling indicate that in the field the technologies perform differently compared with samples analyzed in a controlled laboratory environment, such as the humidity cell.


Diana Bless

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