Quantifying carbon fixation in trace minerals from processed kimberlite: A comparative study of quantitative methods using x-ray powder diffraction data with applications to the Diavik Diamond Mine, Northwest Territories, Canada

Siobhan Wilson, Mati Raudsepp, Gregory Dipple

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68 Citations (Scopus)


The capacity of mine waste to trap CO(2) is, in some cases, much larger than the greenhouse gas production of a mining operation. In mine tailings, the presence of secondary carbonate minerals that trap CO(2) can therefore represent substantial fixation of this greenhouse gas. The abilities of three methods of quantitative phase analysis to measure trace nesquehonite (MgCO(3)center dot 3H(2)O) in samples of processed kimberlite have been assessed: the method of reference intensity ratios (RIR), the internal standard method, and the Rietveld method with X-ray powder diffraction data. Tests on synthetic mixtures made to resemble processed kimberlite indicate that both the RIR and Rietveld methods can be used accurately to quantify nesquehonite to a lower limit of approximately 0.5 wt. for conditions used in the laboratory. Below this value, estimates can be made to a limit of approximately 0.1 wt. using a calibration curve according to the internal standard method. The RIR method becomes increasingly unreliable with decreasing abundance of nesquehonite, primarily as a result of an unpredictable decline in preferred orientation of crystallites. For Rietveld refinements, structureless pattern fitting was used to account for planar disorder in lizardite by considering it as an amorphous phase. Rietveld refinement of data collected from specimens that were serrated to minimize preferred orientation of crystallites gives rise to systematic overestimates of refined abundances for lizardite and underestimates for other phases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2312 - 2331
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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