Abandoned Mine Site Characterization and Cleanup Handbook by Nick Cato, Shahid Mahmud

By Nick Cato, Shahid Mahmud

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Metals such as zinc, arsenic, mercury and cadmium are metals that will vaporize when heated in a pyrometallurgical process unit. In retort processing, these metals are captured as gas, then condensed, and the metal processed for use. In the Chapter 3: En vironmen tal Impacts from Mining 3-9 absence of capture and condensation, the gaseous metals are released and condensed downwind from the release plume. Zinc released historically from smelters has had significant impacts on downwind biota as it is phytotoxic at high concentrations.

1 Introduction This chapter outlines considerations in setting goals for mine site cleanup and in assessing the success of mine site cleanup initiatives. It covers the coordination between federal and state agencies in determining the goals that need to be met and resolving conflicts between different goals in different agencies. The chapter further discusses how a site manager can “measure” the success of meeting the goals that were set for the site. 2 National and Regional Goals. Mining activities have been an integral part of the economy and culture of our nation since the mid-1800's.

The acute toxicity of cyanide (inhalation or ingestion of cyanide interferes with an organism's oxygen metabolism and is lethal) coupled with impacts from a number of major incidents have focused attention on the use of cyanide in the mining industry. Through the 1980's, as cyanidation operations and cyanide usage proliferated, incidents were reported in which waterfowl died when using tailings ponds or other cyanide-containing solution ponds. In addition, a number of major spills occurred, including one in South Highlight 3-6 Romanian Cyanide Spill On January 31, 2000, a tailings dam failed at the Aurul gold mine near the town of Bai Mare in Romania.

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