On Wednesday (24/2) Lina Hällström successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, which focuses on the geochemical behavior of Be, Bi, F and W in and downstream historical skarn tailings (Yxsjöberg, Sweden). Beryllium, Bi and W have previously been considered as immobile elements in the pristine environment, and in the past little research has been focusing on their source, mobility and fate. The results from the Ph.D. project showed that high concentrations of Be, Bi, F and W has been mobilized from the primary minerals in the skarn tailings, and that Be, F and W has been transported in high concentrations in neutral mine drainage. An increase of metal tolerant diatom species indicated that the neutral mine drainage has had adverse impacts on ecosystems downstream the mining area.
"These results are very interesting findings since little is known both about skarn tailings and neutral mine drainage", says Lina Hällström.
The low quality of the mine drainage and impact on diatoms stress the need for remediation in Yxsjöberg. A possible remediation method could be Re-mining, because Be, Bi, F and W are all identified as EU-critical Raw Materials.