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WROC – An improved waste rock oxidation code

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 169-173

Sunkavalli, S.; Kidder, J.; Heatwole, K.; Shier, D.; Davis, A.


Acid rock drainage (ARD) is produced when sulfides are exposed to oxygen and water. Oxidation reactions typically result in a depression of pH and leaching of solutes and metals. Many oxidation models have been developed based on oxygen diffusion, but in environments with high permeability, other transport processes (i.e., convection and advection) can play an important role. Multiple sulfide mineral phases with differing oxidation rates should also be incorporated. WROC, a finite-difference model, was developed to account for these factors in predicting ARD. The program includes sulfide mineral oxidation using a shrinking core mechanism, heat transfer by conduction, heat of reaction and oxygen transport by diffusion and advection. The model was validated using data from the literature. After validation, the WROC model was used to simulate several different waste rock scenarios, including different forms of sulfide mineralization and the effect of implementing a waste rock cover. The results demonstrate that including specific sulfide mineral phases can have a significant effect on oxidation and that implementation of a cover can also aid in reducing waste rock oxidation.