Assessment of Natural Radioactivity and Radon Exhalation in Peruvian Gold Mine Tailings to Produce a Geopolymer Cement

Rafael Liza, Patrizia Pereyra, Jose Rau, Maribel Guzman, Laszlo Sajo-Bohus, Daniel Palacios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mining generates significant amounts of waste that can represent a source of contamination for areas close to the extraction area, generating a negative impact both on the environment and the health of people. This study aims to evaluate the radiological risk derived from exposure to natural radionuclides contained in tailings from Peruvian gold mines and to establish whether the tailings can be used as raw materials in building materials. The mine tailings come from a mining project in the northern highlands of Peru. Radon exhalation was measured using Rad7 in a closed chamber and activity concentration of 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K radioisotopes by gamma spectrometry using NaI 3” × 3” detector. Maximum activity concentrations measured for 226Ra and 232Th were 15.38 Bq kg−1 and 11.9 Bq kg−1, respectively; meanwhile, activity concentration for 40K ranged from 182.7 Bq kg−1 to 770.8 Bq kg−1. All activity concentrations were below the worldwide average except for 40K. The radon exhalation rate varied from 2.8 to 7.2 mBq kg−1 h−1. The gamma index (Iγ), and radiological parameters, including the Radium equivalent activity (Raeq), and the external hazard index (Hex), being below the recommended levels by UNSCEAR, ensure the safe use of these mines tailing to produce a geopolymer cement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number588
JournalAtmosphere
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • activity concentration
  • gamma spectroscopy
  • gold mine tailings
  • radiological hazard
  • radon exhalation

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