Natural flocculation of mineral particles in seawater

"Processes of natural flocculation of mineral particles in association with organic substances in seawater enhance particle removal from the water masses to the sea bed. Due to the stability of the flocs where mineral particles stick to organic slime, resuspension of the sediments is less predominant compared to sediments of the silt and sand fraction where the mineral grains settle as individual grains. Flocs can degrade on the seafloor and this increases the chance of being resuspended, but still when compared to a completely non flocculated environment the seafloor is a more stable substrate. There will be a greater chance of resuspension from the lake bed as the particles are not flocculated and therefore they are more readily mobile than when compared to a fjord or seafloor environment.

When tailings particles from mining activities, with a grain size of less than 10 µm, are disposed through a pipeline in a deep fjord, a similar process of flocculation will take place, preventing a substantial dispersal of fines from the disposal area. Additionally, formation of flocs in association with natural organic matter will reduce the turbidity of the water and the potential environmental risks."