Oxidation Mechanism of Arsenopyrite in the Presence of Water

Juliana C.M. Silva, Egon C. Dos Santos, Thomas Heine, Heitor A. De Abreu, Hélio A. Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Arsenopyrite is commonly present in mining tailings and, together with pyrite, is responsible for acid rock drainage (ARD) phenomenon. The mineral undergoes oxidation in contact with oxygen and water producing a solution containing acid and heavy metals and, hence, causing important environmental impacts. Density functional/plane wave calculations were carried out to investigate the oxidation of arsenopyrite aiming to understanding its intricate mechanism at a molecular level. Molecular oxygen is dissociatively adsorbed in the Fe-O-As adsorption sites leading to the oxidation of arsenic and iron sites in good agreement with the available experimental data. It avoids the many steps observed for the pyrite oxidation mechanism. The presence of water is extremely important for the next steps of the oxidation mechanism similarly to the oxidation mechanism of pyrite. The present work reinforces the fact that the removal of the humidity can inhibit the oxidation of the arseno(pyrites) in an aerobic condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26887-26894
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 7

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The support of the Brazilian agencies Conselho Nacional para o Desenvolvimento Cientifí co e Tecnologicó (CNPq), Fundaca̧ õ de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), and Coordenaca̧ õ de Aperfeico̧ amento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior (CAPES) are gratefully acknowledged. In addition, the National Institute of Science and Technology for Mineral Resources, Water and BiodiversityINCT-ACQUA (http:// www.acqua-inct.org), and the European Commission FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES TEMM1P, GA 295172, who have supported this work, are thanked.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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