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Recent gravel extraction near Brooksby has exposed organic deposits filling a paleochannel, which has yielded a large coleopteran fauna that includes many cold-adapted species such as H. obscurellus, H. glacialis, Tachinus caelatus, and Hippodamia arctica (Coope, unpublished data). MCR estimates based on the beetle assemblage suggest that mean July temperatures were somewhere between 11 and 13C and mean January/February temperatures somewhere between 17 and 11C. The paleochannel underlies glacial deposits of Anglian (MIS 12) age and this arctic fauna may represent an early phase of this glaciation. However, since at Waverley Wood, Channel 2 showed the gradual development of a similar cold-adapted beetle assemblage as part of a larger climatic oscillation, it is possible that the channel deposits recently exposed at Brooksby should be correlated with the terminal phase of some earlier interglacial. Of particular interest at this site is the occurrence of Paleolithic hand axes in the gravels directly overlying the channel deposits, though as yet their exact provenance has not been determined because they were all recovered from the heap of stones rejected by the gravel company. However, as extraction progresses, definitive sections are likely to be exposed which will resolve the question of their stratigraphical context.
Are any areas within the AA currently undergoing mining, quarrying or extraction of any form (other than peat mining)?a.No indication of mining, quarrying or extractionb.Historical areas of mining, quarrying or extraction, currently inactivec.Currently active areas of mining, quarrying or extraction.d.Unknown
Are any areas within the CA currently undergoing mining, quarrying or extraction of any form (other than peat mining)?a.No indication of mining, quarrying or extractionb.Historical areas of mining, quarrying or extraction, currently inactivec.Currently active areas of mining, quarrying or extraction.d.Unknown
Offshore sand and gravel extraction involves the abstraction of sediments from a bed which is always covered with seawater. This activity started in the early 20th century (in the mid-1920s, in the United Kingdom), but did not reach a significant scale until the 1960s and 1970s, when markets for marine sand and gravel expanded and dredging technology improved (Fig. 1). In the mining industry, the term aggregates describes a variety of diverse particulate materials, which are provided in bulk, that is, sand and gravel, together with crushed rocks. The distinction between sand and gravel varies, on the basis of the classification adopted. Hence, the nomenclature may change between the end-users or countries (or even regions within a particular country). For example, in the United Kingdom industry, sand refers to (noncohesive) minerals with a mean grain size lying between 0.63 and 5mm, and gravel is reserved for coarser material; in Belgium, the industry considers as gravel the sediment with a mean grain size larger than 4mm. For comparison, within the scientific literature, the limit between sand and gravel is generally at 2mm.
Fig. 1. Production of aggregates in the United Kingdom between 1900 and 2004 (excluding fill contract and beach nourishment, for marine aggregates). Note the rapid growth of extraction during the late 1960s and the early 1970s, due to the boom in construction in southern England.
Substrate removal and alteration of bottom topography. Trailer suction dredgers leave a furrow in the sediment of up to 2m wide by about 30cm deep but stationary (or anchor) suction dredgers may leave deep pits of up to 5m deep or more. Infill of the pits or furrows created depends on the natural stability of the sediment and the rate of sediment movement due to tidal currents or wave action. This can take many years in some instances. A consequence of significant depressions in the seabed is the potential for a localized drop in current strength resulting in the deposition of finer sediments and possibly a localized depletion in dissolved oxygen.
Creation of turbidity plumes in the water column. This results mainly from the overflow of surplus water/sediment from the spillways of dredgers, the rejection of unwanted sediment fractions by screening, and the mechanical disturbance of the seabed by the draghead. It is generally accepted that the latter is of relatively small significance compared to the other two sources. Recent studies in Hong Kong and the UK indicate that the bulk of the discharged material is likely to settle to the seabed within 500m of the dredger but the very fine material (<0.063mm) may remain in suspension over greater distances due to the low settling velocity of the fine particles.
Redeposition of fines from the turbidity plumes and subsequent sediment transport. Sediment that settles out from plumes will cover the seabed within and close to the extraction site. It may also be subject to subsequent transport away from the site of deposition due to wave and tidal current action since it is liable to have less cohesion and may be finer (due to screening) than undredged sediments.
Humans have damaged water bodies by river channelization and dredging, sand and gravel extraction, wetland drainage, lake and river shore development, dam and barrier construction, water diversion, and levee bank construction. Human activities on land can have indirect but significant effects on fresh waters. For example, sedimentation from poor land use, destruction of riparian vegetation, loss of surface runoff, and loss of water by groundwater extraction for irrigation all can damage fresh waters.
Temporary wetlands are common in many regions. They may have surface water only occasionally, but when they do they are very productive and harbor a distinctive invertebrate fauna adapted to survive long dry periods. Unfortunately, in many areas the importance of temporary wetlands as distinctive habitats of high biodiversity value has not been recognized and many of these wetlands have been plowed, drained, and filled in.
Sedimentation of streams and wetlands from erosion can be caused by activities in watersheds such as land clearance, plowing and tillage of soil, road building, and logging. The mass delivery of sand and silt into water bodies can reduce invertebrate diversity and change species composition by filling in pools in streams, wetlands, ponds, and even lakes by burying porous coarse sediments with layers of fine sediments with very low permeability and by covering aquatic plants. The deep streambed of running-waters has a rich and distinctive fauna dependent on the high permeability of the gravels and sands. Sedimentation can clog the pores in the streambed reducing water movement and oxygen availability, which leads to the loss of fauna. Many streams that originally had stable, habitat-rich channels and a rich invertebrate fauna have been damaged when channels were filled by fine shifting sediment that consequently has led to a greatly depleted fauna.
A property vital to the nature of rivers, and essential for maintainence of invertebrate biodiversity, is connectivitythe unimpeded movement of water, longitudinally from source to mouth, and laterally between the channel and its floodplain. Loss of connectivity greatly alters invertebrate species composition and may reduce diversity.
Dams on rivers are barriers to longitudinal connectivity because they disrupt the downstream movements of nutrients and organic matter and prevent movement of invertebrates and fish. Levees are barriers to lateral connectivity because they are designed to stop lowland rivers from flooding their floodplains; however, periodic floodplain inundation is essential for maintenance of the biodiversity of the river system.
Humans have damaged water bodies by river channelization and dredging, sand and gravel extraction, wetland drainage, lake and river shore development, dam and barrier construction, water diversion, levee bank construction, and valley fills associated with mountain top mining. Human activities on land can have indirect but significant effects on fresh waters. For example, sedimentation from poor land use, destruction of riparian vegetation, loss of surface runoff, and loss of water by groundwater extraction for irrigation, all can damage fresh waters. Indeed, studies have shown that when just 510% of a watershed's area is affected by anthropogenic activities, stream biodiversity and water quality suffer.
Temporary wetlands are common in many regions. They may have surface water only occasionally but when they do, they are very productive and harbor a distinctive invertebrate fauna adapted to survive long dry periods. Unfortunately, in many areas the importance of temporary wetlands as distinctive habitats of high biodiversity value has not been recognized and many of these wetlands have been plowed, drained, and filled in.
Sedimentation of streams and wetlands from erosion can be caused by activities in watersheds such as land clearance, plowing and tillage of soil, road building, and logging. The mass delivery of sand and silt into water bodies can reduce invertebrate diversity and change species composition by filling in pools in streams, wetlands, ponds, and even lakes, burying porous coarse sediments with layers of fine sediments with very low permeability, and covering the aquatic plants. The deep streambed of running waters has a rich and distinctive fauna dependent on the high permeability of gravels and sands. Sedimentation can clog the pores in the streambed reducing water movement and oxygen availability, which leads to the loss of fauna. Many streams that originally had stable, habitat-rich channels, and a rich invertebrate fauna have been damaged when channels were filled by fine shifting sediment that consequently has led to a greatly depleted fauna.
A property vital to the nature of rivers, and essential for maintenance of invertebrate biodiversity, is connectivity the unimpeded movement of water, longitudinally from source to mouth, and laterally between the channel and its floodplain. Loss of connectivity greatly alters invertebrate species composition and may reduce diversity. Dams on rivers are barriers to longitudinal connectivity because they disrupt the downstream movements of nutrients and organic matter and prevent movement of invertebrates and fish. Levees are barriers to lateral connectivity because they are designed to stop lowland rivers from flooding their floodplains; however, periodic floodplain inundation is essential for the maintenance of biodiversity of the river system.
Because it is needed for so many construction purposes in such large volumes, sand and gravel extraction is a widespread activity along river channels throughout the world, especially close to growing urban areas. In locations distant from bedrock and glacial deposits, fluvial deposits may be the best or the only source of aggregates. In-stream and floodplain mining can be a small-scale activity using shovels and wheelbarrows (e.g., Harden, 1993, 2006; deLeeuw et al., 2010) or a large-scale endeavor using heavy equipment, including hydraulic dredges. Small-scale, in-stream operations tend to modify channel bars and the cross-sectional form of the channel; larger operations can radically alter the stream and floodplain form, creating several pits and ponds (Figure 15). Including upland aggregate mines, approximately 9900 pits and quarries in the United States over what time period does this statistic apply? more than 2.7 billion tons of sand, gravel, and crushed stone (Bolen, 2002; Tepordei, 2002; Arnold et al., 2003). An estimated 1020% of sand and gravel mined in the United States in 1974 was taken from streams (Newport and Moyer, 1974). Since the passage of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1977, some states have heavily restricted in-stream mining; thus this number may have decreased. Approximately 14millionkg of aggregate is required for the construction of a school or a hospital and 91000kg for a typical 6-room house (Langer 1988, Meador and Layher, 1998). At a bulk density of 2000kgm3, these masses represent approximately 7000 and 45m3 of aggregate, respectively, and this calculation underestimates the amounts mined because it does not account for overburden and other waste materials.
Figure 15. Left photo shows that gravel mining in Amite River floodplain creates various stock piles, fans, pits, and paths for the channel to reroute during the April 1983 flood. Right shows large furrows and fans (back center) created by sand and gravel mining in the Tangipahoa floodplain (photo credits: J. Mossa).
Mining of coarse-grained alluvium from and along rivers causes geomorphic, hydrologic, and biotic changes. Besides direct changes, the bare and irregular topography of the landscape is vulnerable to change during flood events. Planform and position changes include increased bank erosion, lateral migration, and channel shifting when the river avulses into floodplain pits. Mined reaches can widen from material extraction along the channel perimeter or by capturing the anthropogenic form of a pit through migration or avulsion (Mossa and Marks, 2011). Degradation, which can extend to channel incision of several meters, is a common response to mining the channel bed (Kondolf, 1994; Davis et al., 2000; Marston et al., 2003; Uribelarrea et al., 2003). Degradation within and adjacent to mined reaches results in reduced flood stages, but at some distance downstream of mined reaches, aggradation from excessive sediment inputs can increase the frequency and magnitude of overbank flows (e.g., Gilbert, 1917; Brim-Box and Mossa, 1999).
An avulsion into one or more floodplain pits (Scott, 1973; Bull and Scott, 1974; Kondolf, 1994; Brown et al., 1998; Sandecki, 1989; Mossa, 1995; Wampler et al., 2006) can have the same effect as in-stream mining, because these along-channel pits can trap much of the bed load transport for decades. In spite of the presence of dikes or revetments in Washington state, USA, stream captures in floodplain pits are commonplace (Norman et al., 1998). An avulsion that goes through a long reach of channel, such as the one that went through several pits on Big Escambia Creek, FL, can shorten the length and shift the location of tributary junctures by several kilometers (US Army Corps of Engineers-Mobile District, 2000). This practice is poorly regulated United States in the Unit, and not regulated or not well policed in a number of other locations.
Besides changing the channel form, the legacy of mining sand and gravel in rivers and floodplains includes a preponderance of lakes and water bodies. In areas of rapid sedimentation, there are potential positive effects, including reduced flood stages and related damages, such as on rivers in China (deLeeuw et al., 2010). Because mining for sand and gravel in rivers and floodplains is so widespread, most impacted rivers have not been studied, and more work is needed to evaluate and better understand the extent of the activity and its geomorphic effects worldwide.
Silica sand low in iron is much in demand for glass, ceramic and pottery use, and for many of these applications clean, white sand is desired. Impurities such as clay slime, iron stain, and heavy minerals including iron oxides, garnet, chromite, zircon, and other accessory minerals must not be present. Chromium, for example, must not be present, even in extremely small amounts, in order for the sand to be acceptable to certain markets. Feldspars and mica are also objectionable. Generally, iron content must be reduced to 0.030% Fe2O3 or less.
Silica sand for making glass, pottery and ceramics must meet rigid specifications and generally standard washing schemes are inadequate for meeting these requirements. Sand for the glass industry must contain not more than 0.03% Fe2O3. Concentrating tables will remove free iron particles but iron stained and middling particles escape gravity methods. Flotation has been very successfully applied in the industry for making very low iron glass sand suitable even for optical requirements.Sub-A Flotation Machines are extensively used in this industry for they give the selectivity desired and are constructed to withstand the corrosive pulp conditions normally encountered (acid circuits) and also the abrasive action of the coarse, granular, slime free washed sand.
The flowsheet illustrates the more common methods of sand beneficiation. Silica may be obtained from sandstone, dry sand deposits and wet sand deposits. Special materials handling methods are applicable in each case.
The silica bearing sandstone must be mined or quarried much in the manner for handling hard rock. The mined ore is reduced by a Jaw Crusher to about 1 size for the average small tonnage operation. For larger scale operations two-stage crushing is advisable.
The crushed ore is reduced to natural sand grain size by Rod Milling. Generally, one pass treatment through the Rod Mill is sufficient. Grinding is done wet at dilutions in excess of normal grinding practice. A Spiral Screen fitted to the mill discharge removes the plus 20 mesh oversize which either goes to waste or is conveyed back to the mill feed for retreatment.
Sand from such deposits is generally loaded into trucks and transported dry to the mill receiving bin. It is then fed on to a vibrating screen with sufficient water to wash the sand through the 20 mesh stainless screen cloth. Water sprays further wash the oversize which goes to waste or for other use. The minus 20 mesh is the product going to further treatment.
The sand and water slurry for one of the three fore-mentioned methods is classified or dewatered. This may be conveniently done by cyclones or by mechanical dewatering classifiers such as the drag, screw, or rake classifiers.
From classification the sand, at 70 to 75% solids, is introduced into a Attrition Scrubber for removal of surface stain from the sand grains. This is done by actual rubbing of the wet sand grains, one against another, in an intensely agitated high density pulp. Most of the work is done among the sand grains not against the rotating propellers.
For this service rubber covered turbine type propellers of special design and pitch are used. Peripheral speed is relatively low, but it is necessary to introduce sufficient power to keep the entire mass in violent movement without any lost motion or splash. The degree of surface filming and iron oxide stain will determine the retention time required in the Scrubber.
The scrubbed sand from the Attrition Machine is diluted with water to 25-30% solids and pumped to a second set of cyclones for further desliming and removal of slimes released in the scrubber. In some cases the sand at this point is down to the required iron oxide specifications by scrubbing only. In this case, the cyclone or classifier sand product becomes final product.
Deslimed sand containing mica, feldspar, and iron bearing heavy minerals can be successfully cleaned to specifications by Sub-A Flotation. Generally this is done in an acid pulp circuit. Conditioning with H2SO4 and iron promoting reagents is most effective at high density, 70-75% solids. To minimize conditioning and assure proper reagentizing a two-stage Heavy Duty Open Conditioner with Rubber Covered Turbine Propellers is used. This unit has two tanks and mechanisms driven from one motor.
The conditioned pulp is diluted with water to 25-30% solids and fed to a Sub-A Flotation Machine especially designed for handling the abrasive, slime free sand. Acid proof construction in most cases is necessary as the pulps may be corrosive from the presence of sulfuric acid. A pH of 2.5-3.0 is common. Wood construction with molded rubber and 304 or 316 stainless steel are the usual materials of construction. In the flotation step the impurity minerals are floated off in a froth product which is diverted to waste. The clean, contaminent-free silica sand discharges from the end of the machine.
The flotation tailing product at 25 to 30% solids contains the clean silica sand. A SRL Pump delivers it to a Dewatering Classifier for final dewatering. A mechanical classifier is generally preferable for this step as the sand can be dewatered down to 15 to 20% moisture content for belt conveying to stock pile or drainage bins. In some cases the sand is pumped directly to drainage bins but in such cases it would be preferable to place a cyclone in the circuit to eliminate the bulk of the water. Sand filters of top feed or horizontal pan design may also be used for more complete water removal on a continuous basis.
Dry grinding to minus 100 or minus 200 mesh is done in Mills with silica or ceramic lining and using flint pebbles or high density ceramic or porcelain balls. This avoids any iron contamination from the grinding media.
In some cases it may be necessary to place high intensity magnetic separators in the circuit ahead of the grinding mill to remove last traces of iron which may escape removal in the wet treatment scrubbing and flotation steps. Iron scale and foreign iron particles are also removed by the magnetic separator.
In general most silica sands can be beneficiated to acceptable specifications by the flowsheet illustrated. Reagent cost for flotation is low, being in the order of 5 to 10 cents per ton of sand treated. If feldspars and mica must also be removed, reagent costs may approach a maximum of 50 cents per ton.
Laboratory test work is advisable to determine the exact treatment steps necessary. Often, attrition scrubbing and desliming will produce very low iron silica sand suitable for the glass trade. Complete batch and pilot plant test facilities are available to test your sand and determine the exact size of equipment required and the most economical reagent combinations.
Silica sand for making glass, pottery and ceramics must meet rigid specifications and generally standard washing schemes are inadequate for meeting these requirements. Sand for the glass industry must contain not more than 0.03% Fe2O3. Concentrating tables will remove free iron particles but iron stained and middling particles escape gravity methods. Flotation has been very successfully applied in the industry for making very low iron glass sand suitable even for optical requirements.
Sub-A Flotation Machines are extensively used in this industry for they give the selectivity desired and are constructed to withstand the corrosive pulp conditions normally encountered (acid circuits) and also the abrasive action of the coarse, granular, slime free washed sand.
The flowsheet illustrated is typical for production of glasssand by flotation. Generally large tonnages are treated, forexample, 30 to 60 tons per hour. Most sand deposits can be handled by means of a dredge and the sand pumped to the treatment plant. Sandstone deposits are also being treated and may require elaborate mining methods, aerial tramways, crushers, and wet grinding. Rod Mills with grate discharges serve for wet grinding to reduce the crushed sandstone to the particle size before the sand grains were cementedtogether in the deposit. Rod milling is replacing the older conventional grinding systems such as edge runner wet mills or Chilean type mills.
Silica sand pumped from the pit is passed over a screen, either stationary, revolving or vibrating type, to remove tramp oversize. The screen undersize is washed and dewatered generally in a spiral type classifier. Sometimes cone, centrifugal and rake type classifiers may also be used for this service. To clean the sand grains it may be necessary to thoroughly scrub the sand in a heavy-duty sand scrubber similar to the Heavy-duty Agitator used for foundry sand scrubbing. This unit is placed ahead of the washing and dewatering step when required. The overflow from the classifier containing the excess water and slimes is considered a waste product. Thickening of the wastes for water reclamation and tailings disposal in some areas may be necessary.
The washed and dewatered sand from the spiral-type classifier is conveyed to a storage bin ahead of the flotation section. It is very important to provide a steady feed to flotation as dilution, reagents and time control determines the efficiency of the process.
Feeding wet sand out of a storage bin at a uniform rate presents a materials handling problem. In some cases the sand can be uniformly fed by means of a belt or vibrating-type feeder. Vibrators on the storage bin may also be necessary to insure uniform movement of the sand to the feeder. In some cases the wet sand is removed from the bin by hydraulic means and pumped to a spiral-type classifier for further dewatering before being conveyed to the next step in the flowsheet.
Conditioning of the sand with reagents is the most critical step in the process. Generally, for greater efficiency, it is necessary to condition at maximum density. It is for this reason the sand must be delivered to the agitators or conditioners with a minimum amount of moisture. High density conditioning at 70 to 75% solids is usually necessary for efficient reagentizing of the impurity minerals so they will float readily when introduced into the flotation machine.
The Heavy-duty Duplex Open-type Conditioner previously developed for phosphate, feldspar, ilmenite, and other non-metallic mineral flotation is ideal for this application. A duplex unit is necessary to provide the proper contact time. Circular wood tanks are used to withstand the acid pulp conditions and the conditioner shafts and propellers are rubber covered for both the abrasive and corrosive action of the sand and reagents.
Reagents are added to the conditioners, part to the first and the balance to the second tank of the duplex unit, generally for flotation of impurities from silica sand. These reagents are fuel oil, sulphuric acid, pine oil, and a petroleum sulfonate. This is on the basis that the impurities are primarily oxides. If iron is present in sulphide form, then a xanthate reagent is necessary to properly activate and float it. The pulp is usually regulated with sulfuric acid to give a pH of 2.5-3.0 for best results through flotation.
A low reagent cost is necessary because of the low value of the clean sand product. It is also necessary to select a combination of reagents which will float a minimum amount of sand in the impurity product. It is desirable to keep the weight recovery in the clean sand product over 95%. Fatty acid reagents and some of the amines have a tendency to float too much of the sand along with the impurities and are therefore usually avoided.
After proper reagentizing at 70 to 75% solids the pulp is diluted to 25 to 30% solids and introduced into the flotation machine for removal of impurities in the froth product. Thepulp is acid, pH 2 .5 to 3.0 and the sand, being granular and slime free, is rapid settling so a definite handling problem is encountered through flotation.
The Sub-A Flotation Machine has been very successful for silica sand flotation because it will efficiently handle the fast settling sand and move it along from cell to cell positively. Aeration, agitation and selectivity due to the quiet upper zone can be carefully regulated to produce the desired separation. The machine is constructed with a wood tank and molded rubber wearing parts to withstand the corrosive action of the acid pulp. Molded rubber conical-type impellers are preferred for this service when handling a coarse, granular, abrasive sand.
Flotation contact time for removal of impurities is usually short. A 4, and preferably a 6 cell, machine is advisable. Cell to cell pulp level control is also desirable. A 6 cell No. 24 (43 x 43) Sub-A Flotation Machine in most cases is adequate for handling 25 to 30 tons of sand per hour. If the impurities are in sulphide form a standard machine with steel tank and molded rubber parts is adequate provided the pulp is not acid. Otherwise acid proof construction is essential.
The flotation tailing product is the clean sand discharging from the end of the flotation machine at 25 to 30% solids and must be dewatered before further processing. Dewatering can be accomplished in a dewatering classifier and then sent to storage or drying. Top feed or horizontal vacuum filters are often used to remove moisture ahead of the dryer. Dry grinding of the sand to meet market requirements for ceramic and pottery use is also a part of the flowsheet in certain cases.
This particular sand was all minus 20 mesh with only a trace minus 200 mesh and 70% plus 65 mesh. Iron impurity was present as oxide and stained silica grains. The plant which was installed as a result of this test work is consistently making over a 95% weight recovery and a product with not over 0.02% Fe2O3 which at times goes as low as 0.01% Fe2O3.
Si02, minimum..99.8 per cent Al2O3, maximum..0.1 percent Fe2O3, maximum..0.02 per cent CaO + MgO, maximum.0.1 percent For certain markets, a maximum of 0.030 per cent Fe2O3 is acceptable.
Natural silica-sand deposits generally contain impurityminerals such as clay, mica, and iron oxide and heavy iron minerals which are not sufficiently removed by washing and gravity concentration. Flotation is often used to remove these impurity minerals to meet market specifications.
Anionic-type reagents, such as fatty acids, are used to float some impurities in alkaline pulp. Cationic-type reagents such as amines or amine acetates are also used with inhibitors such as sulphuric or hydrofluoric acids to float certain impurity minerals and depress the silica.
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