Download Mining and the Environment: Case Studies from the Americas by Alyson Warhurst PDF

By Alyson Warhurst

The conventional photograph of mining corporations working with little regard for nature or neighborhood populations is, at the present time, now not actual. safety of our environment, of mine employees, and of within sight groups has develop into approximately as a lot a priority as placing "rock within the box." With case reports from Chile, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and the U.S., this e-book indicates how mining companies which are the most productive in extracting minerals also are higher at maintaining the surroundings.

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Extra info for Mining and the Environment: Case Studies from the Americas

Example text

Indeed, more than 12% of Inco's capital spending during the 1980s and early 1990s was for environmental concerns (Coppel 1992). Under the Canadian acid-rain-control program, Inco was required to reduce SO2 emissions from its Sudbury smelter complex from 685 000 t/year to 265 000 t/year by 1994, a 60% reduction. To achieve this reduction, Inco planned to spend $69 million to modernize its milling and concentrating operations and $425 million for smelter-SO2 abatement. The modernization process included replacement of its reverberatory furnaces with innovative oxygenflash smelters and the construction of a new sulfuric acid recovery plant and an additional oxygen plant.

Low rates of metals recovery, high-intensity use of energy, excessive use of reagents, and so on are symptomatic of production inefficiency and are also associated with pollution, such as metal particulates, SO2 emissions, and toxic chemical effluent. The question of economies of scale in metals production further constrains the choice of technology for minimizing waste and maximizing metals recovery. A major implication for pollution-prevention policy is that in tackling the most significant polluters, it must also target the most inefficient (this means targeting the least innovative).

An extensive environmental-impact analysis was undertaken before the mining started. All plant and animal species were identified and relocated in readiness for site rehabilitation once the mining operations end. Air, soil, and water quality were measured in detail and water-flow patterns were determined to provide the baseline for future monitoring programs. Assaying was done not just of the gold ore but also of the different types of gangue material so that waste of different chemical compositions could be mined selectively and dumped in specific combinations to reduce acid mine drainage.

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