The role of secondary minerals in remediation of acid mine drainage by Portland cement Academic Article uri icon


  • To test the effects of secondary mineral formation on cement neutralisation of acid mine drainage (AMD), cement samples were leached with AMD and dilute sulfuric acid of approximately equal acidity. In both cases the neutralising efficiency of the cements, due to dissolution of portlandite as well as the hydrated calcium silicate and aluminate phases, decreased as secondary minerals accumulated on the cement surfaces. The AMD-leached cement became coated with Fe hydroxides, whereas the H2SO4-leached cement was covered primarily with gypsum. Ettringite and thaumasite also formed within the cement in both cases, however in much greater amounts in cement leached with AMD. The AMD penetrated deeper into the cement than H2SO4 because the higher amounts of ettringite and thaumasite in AMD-leached cement caused expansion and cracking. The cracking, which resulted in a substantial loss of strength of the cement, was enhanced when the cement samples were allowed to dry out. This indicates that cement used for passive treatment of AMD will likely provide better long-term neutralisation in at least partially unsaturated conditions where the cement dries out periodically, facilitating cracking to allow deeper penetration of AMD.

publication date

  • 2019