The Parys Mountain copper mining district (Anglesey, North Wales) hosts exposed pyritic bedrock, solid mine waste spoil heaps and acid drainage (ochre sediment) deposits. Both natural and waste deposits show elevated trace element concentrations, including selenium (Se), at abundances of both economic and environmental consideration. Elevated concentrations of semi- metals such as Se in waste smelts highlight the potential for economic reserves in this and similar base metal mining sites. Selenium is sourced from the pyritic bedrock and concentrations are retained in red weathering smelt soils, but lost in bedrock-weathered soils and clays. Selenium correlates with Te, Au, Bi, Cd, Hg, Pb, S and Sb across bedrock and weathered deposits. Man-made mine waste deposits show enrichment of As, Bi, Cu, Sb and Te, with Fe oxide-rich smelt materials containing high Pb, up to 1.5 wt%, and Au contents, up to 1.2 ppm. The trace elements As, Co, Cu and Pb are retained from bedrock to all sediments, including high Cu content in Fe oxide-rich ochre sediments. The high abundance and mobility of trace elements in sediments and waters should be considered as potential pollutants to the area, and also as a source for economic reserves of previously extracted and new strategic commodities.
- Parys Mountain