Chemicals like mercury, cyanide, sulfuric acid, arsenic and methyl mercury are used in various stages of mining. Most of the chemicals are released into nearby water bodies, and are responsible for water pollution. In spite of tailings (pipes) being used to dispose these chemicals into the water bodies, possibilities of leakage are always there. When the leaked chemicals slowly percolate through the layers of the earth, they reach the groundwater and pollute it. Surface run-off of just soil and rock debris, although non-toxic, can be harmful for vegetation of the surrounding areas.
Loss of Aquatic Life
Release of toxic chemicals into the water is obviously harmful for the flora and fauna of the water bodies. Besides the pollution, mining processes require water from nearby water sources. For example, water is used to wash impurities from the coal. The result is that the water content of the river or lake from which water is being used gets reduced. Organisms in these water bodies do not have enough water for their survival.
River dredging is a method adopted in case of gold mining. In this method, gravel and mud is suctioned from a particular area of the river. After the gold fragments are filtered out, the remaining mud and gravel is released back into the river, although, at a location different from where they had been taken. This disrupts the natural flow of the river that may cause fish and other organisms to die.As the professional manufacturer of complete sets of mining machinery, such as rotary dryer, Henan Hongxing is always doing the best in products and service.
Previously buried metal sulfides are exposed during mining activities. When they come in contact with the atmospheric oxygen, they get converted into strong sulfuric acid and metal oxides. Such compounds get mixed up in the local waterways and contaminate local rivers with heavy metals.
Spread of Diseases
Sometimes the liquid waste that is generated after the metals or minerals have been extracted is disposed in a mining pit. As the pit gets filled up by the mine tailings, they become a stagnant pool of water. This becomes the breeding ground for water-borne diseases causing insects and organisms like mosquitoes to flourish.
Effects of mining on the environment may not be evident immediately; they are usually noticed after some years. Although the developed countries have tight norms regarding mining, such rules can be easily flouted in countries which lack strict monitoring of the procedures being followed for mining. The effects in such cases can be devastating for the environment. Be it due to ignorance of the regulations or just a freak accident, incidents like the Guyana spill of 1995 may occur again. This highlights the fact that issues like how does mining affect the environment are worth some serious deliberation.
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