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Prediction of acid mine drainage generation potential of various lithologies using static tests: Etili coal mine (NW Turkey) as a case study
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The Etili neighborhood in Can County (northwestern Turkey) has large reserves of coal and has been the site of many small- to medium-scale mining operations since the 1980s. Some of these have ceased working while others continue to operate. Once activities cease, the mining facilities and fields are usually abandoned without rehabilitation. The most significant environmental problem is acid mine drainage (AMD). This study was carried out to determine the acid generation potential of various lithological units in the Etili coal mine using static test methods. Seventeen samples were selected from areas with high acidic water concentrations: from different alteration zones belonging to volcanic rocks, from sedimentary rocks, and from coals and mine wastes. Static tests (paste pH, standard acid–base accounting, and net acid generation tests) were performed on these samples. The consistency of the static test results showed that oxidation of sulfide minerals, especially pyrite—which is widely found not only in the alteration zones of volcanic rocks but also in the coals and mine wastes—is the main factor controlling the generation of AMD in this mine. Lack of carbonate minerals in the region also increases the occurrence of AMD.