ArticlePDF Available
MINING AND ITS IMPACTS ON ENVIRONMENT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO INDIA
1*Syed Maqbool Geelani, 2Bhat,
S.
1
1
Division of Environmental Sciences, Sher
Technology of Kashmir, Srinagar, (J&K), India 191 121
2Faculty of Forestry, Sher-e-
Kashmir University of Agricultural sciences and Technology of Kashmir,
3Department
of Food Science and Technology, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, 190 006, India
ARTICLE INFO
ABSTRACT
Mining
ore body, vein or coal seam.
diamonds, iron, precious metals, lead, limestone, magnesi
tin,
uranium and molbedium. Any material that cannot be grown from agricultural processes, or
created artificially in a laboratory or factory, is usually mined.
extraction of an
the economic growth and development of the country. Minerals worth Rs. 73945 crore were produced
in India in 2004
chromite
associated with various environmental concerns. One of the major environmental challenges is to
handle and manage the huge volumes of
presents the assessment of
landscape), soil erosion, ecological disruption, air and water pollution, safety, risk and health etc.
Economi
paper.
Copyright © Syed Maqbool Geelani, et al.,
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
INTRODUCTION
Minerals are indispensable components of the national
economy of any country. India is endowed with significant
mineral resources. More than 0.8 million hectares of land is
under mining -
a substantial portion of which lies in forest
areas. There are about
20000 known mineral deposits in India
and as many as 89 minerals (4 fuel, 11 metallic, 52 non
metallic and 22 minor minerals) are produced worth Rs.
73944.59 Crore. (Annual Report 2004–05,
Ministry of Mines).
There are about 3000 working mines in the coun
crude petroleum, natural gas, atomic and minor minerals)
including 350 opencast mechanized
mines of which two thirds
belong to limestone and iron ore. There is a progressive
increase in average size of mine due to adoption of heavy earth
mov
ing machinery with increased production of overburden
thus aggravating the existing environmental challenges.
Opencast mining operations result in dumping of huge volume
of overburden on unmined land in addition to pit
landscape. This overburden or
iginates from the consolidated
and unconsolidated materials overlying the minerals and coal
*Corresponding author: Syed Maqbool Geelani,
Division of Environmental
Sciences, Sher-e-
Kashmir University of Agricultural sciences and
of Kashmir, Srinagar, (J&K), India 191 121.
ISSN: 0975-833X
Vol.
Article History:
Received 09th September, 2013
Received in revised form
19th October, 2013
Accepted 24th November, 2013
Published online 02nd December, 2013
Key words:
Mining,
Impacts,
India,
Environment.
REVIEW ARTICLE
MINING AND ITS IMPACTS ON ENVIRONMENT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO INDIA
S.
J. A., 3Syed Hanifa Geelani, 1
Sham Sul Haq,
1
Gazala Qazi, and 1Shahid Wani
Division of Environmental Sciences, Sher
-e-
Kashmir University of Agricultural sciences and
Technology of Kashmir, Srinagar, (J&K), India 191 121
Kashmir University of Agricultural sciences and Technology of Kashmir,
Srinagar, (J&K), India 191 121
of Food Science and Technology, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, 190 006, India
ABSTRACT
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or geological materials from the earth, usually from an
ore body, vein or coal seam.
Materials recovered by mining include bauxite, coal, copper, gold, silver,
diamonds, iron, precious metals, lead, limestone, magnesite, nickel, phosphate, oil, shale, rock salt,
uranium and molbedium. Any material that cannot be grown from agricultural processes, or
created artificially in a laboratory or factory, is usually mined.
extraction of an
y non renewable resource eg, petroleum,
natural gas.
the economic growth and development of the country. Minerals worth Rs. 73945 crore were produced
in India in 2004
-
05. Opencast mining operations to result the minerals lik
chromite
, copper-
ores and coal are getting more emphasis because of obvious reasons but are
associated with various environmental concerns. One of the major environmental challenges is to
handle and manage the huge volumes of overburden generated in the opencast mines. This paper
presents the assessment of
environmental impacts of overburden such as visual (aesthetics,
landscape), soil erosion, ecological disruption, air and water pollution, safety, risk and health etc.
Economic valuation aspects of environmental impacts of overburden are also briefly described in his
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Minerals are indispensable components of the national
economy of any country. India is endowed with significant
mineral resources. More than 0.8 million hectares of land is
a substantial portion of which lies in forest
20000 known mineral deposits in India
and as many as 89 minerals (4 fuel, 11 metallic, 52 non
-
metallic and 22 minor minerals) are produced worth Rs.
Ministry of Mines).
There are about 3000 working mines in the coun
try (excluding
crude petroleum, natural gas, atomic and minor minerals)
mines of which two thirds
belong to limestone and iron ore. There is a progressive
increase in average size of mine due to adoption of heavy earth
ing machinery with increased production of overburden
thus aggravating the existing environmental challenges.
Opencast mining operations result in dumping of huge volume
of overburden on unmined land in addition to pit
-scarred
iginates from the consolidated
and unconsolidated materials overlying the minerals and coal
Division of Environmental
Kashmir University of Agricultural sciences and
Technology
seams, and is required to be removed. One of the major
environmental challenges is to manage the huge volume of
overburden generated in these opencast mines which is
associated with the problems of aesthetics, visual impact
landslides, loss of topsoil, soil erosion, water and air pollution,
ecological disruption, social problems, safety, risk and health
etc. In addition, open
cast mines makes a marked change in the
land use and the challenge lies in developing suitable
mining land use.
Visual Impacts
Among the potential negative impacts of mining, the visual
impact of opencast mining (over burden dumping, etc)
deserves special attention. Visual impacts include aesthetic &
scenic and landscape aspects. Visual and
of rehabilitated mined land is the single most important
consideration in designing a combination of landforms and
revegetation processes. While there can be occasions where a
change to a completely different land use is beneficial,
example from previous agriculture to industrial real estate.
Generally speaking, the significance of the change is linked to
the topography of the area and to the type of landscape and
vegetation. The significance of the visual impact depends on
the di
stance, the weather conditions and the height of the
Available online at http://www.journalcra.com
International Journal of Current Research
Vol.
5, Issue, 12, pp. 3586-3590, December, 2013
z
MINING AND ITS IMPACTS ON ENVIRONMENT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO INDIA
Sham Sul Haq,
2Naseer Ahmad Mir,
Kashmir University of Agricultural sciences and
Kashmir University of Agricultural sciences and Technology of Kashmir,
of Food Science and Technology, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, 190 006, India
is the extraction of valuable minerals or geological materials from the earth, usually from an
Materials recovered by mining include bauxite, coal, copper, gold, silver,
te, nickel, phosphate, oil, shale, rock salt,
uranium and molbedium. Any material that cannot be grown from agricultural processes, or
Mining in a widersense comprises
natural gas.
Mineral resources are vital for
the economic growth and development of the country. Minerals worth Rs. 73945 crore were produced
05. Opencast mining operations to result the minerals lik
e limestone, bauxite, iron-,
ores and coal are getting more emphasis because of obvious reasons but are
associated with various environmental concerns. One of the major environmental challenges is to
overburden generated in the opencast mines. This paper
environmental impacts of overburden such as visual (aesthetics,
landscape), soil erosion, ecological disruption, air and water pollution, safety, risk and health etc.
c valuation aspects of environmental impacts of overburden are also briefly described in his
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted
seams, and is required to be removed. One of the major
environmental challenges is to manage the huge volume of
overburden generated in these opencast mines which is
associated with the problems of aesthetics, visual impact
s and
landslides, loss of topsoil, soil erosion, water and air pollution,
ecological disruption, social problems, safety, risk and health
cast mines makes a marked change in the
land use and the challenge lies in developing suitable
post-
Among the potential negative impacts of mining, the visual
impact of opencast mining (over burden dumping, etc)
deserves special attention. Visual impacts include aesthetic &
scenic and landscape aspects. Visual and
land use compatibility
of rehabilitated mined land is the single most important
consideration in designing a combination of landforms and
revegetation processes. While there can be occasions where a
change to a completely different land use is beneficial,
for
example from previous agriculture to industrial real estate.
Generally speaking, the significance of the change is linked to
the topography of the area and to the type of landscape and
vegetation. The significance of the visual impact depends on
stance, the weather conditions and the height of the
INTERNATIONAL
JOURNAL
OF CURRENT RESEARCH
viewpoint. In any case visual impact is not easily discussed in
absolute terms. Whether or not an over burden dump is
unpleasant to the eye besides the subjective dimension of the
question is very much a matter of integration into the
surrounding environment (Jain, 2003). Physical screening,
screen planting, landscaping and the use of existing features
contribute to local surroundings. Clearly, it is difficult to
measure visual impacts quantitatively through standards and
regulations. It is generally agreed, that the value placed on a
certain type of landscape is a subjective issue and in some
cases, for example, authorities have refused permits for
landscape reasons, when in fact, there is no opposition from
local residents.
Erosion and sedimentation
Degradation due to erosion starts right from the source viz.,
rainsplash on overburden dumps induce erosion which goes on
increasing in the form of sheet, reel and gully erosion. Gully
erosion affects the aesthetic quality of the site as well as
stability of the dumps. Nutrient value of the dumps goes down
which might be helpful in revegetation of the dump top and
dump slopes. Along with these the material is also lost from the
dumps. Because of the large area of land disturbed by mining
operations and the large quantities of earthen materials exposed
at sites, erosion can be a major concern at hard-rock mining
sites. Consequently, erosion control must be considered from
the beginning of operations through completion of reclamation.
Erosion may cause significant loading of sediments (and any
entrained chemical pollutants) to nearby water-bodies,
especially during severe storm events and high snowmelt
periods. Sediment-laden surface runoff typically originates as
sheet flow and collects in rills, natural channels or gullies, or
artificial conveyances. The ultimate deposition of the sediment
may occur in surface waters or it may be deposited within the
flood plains of a stream valley. Historically, erosion and
sedimentation processes have caused the build-up of thick
layers of mineral fines and sediment within regional flood
plains and the alteration of aquatic habitat and the loss of
storage capacity within surface waters (Barve, 2011). The main
factors influencing erosion includes the volume and velocity of
runoff from precipitation events, the rate of precipitation
infiltration downward through the soil, the amount of
vegetative cover, the slope length or the distance from the point
of origin of overland flow to the point where deposition begins,
and operational erosion control structures. Major sources of
erosion/sediment loading at mining sites can include open pit
areas, heap and dump leaches, waste rock and overburden
piles, tailings piles and dams, haul roads and access roads, ore
stockpiles, vehicle and equipment maintenance areas,
exploration areas, and reclamation areas.
Impacts on water quality
Surface Water
One of the problems that can be associated with mining
operations is the release of pollutants to surface waters. Many
activities and sources associated with a dumpsite can contribute
toxic and non-toxic materials to surface waters. The mobility of
the pollutants from these sources is magnified by exposure to
rainfall and snowfall. The eventual discharge of surface runoff,
produced from rainfall and snow melt, is one mechanism by
which pollutants are released into surface waters. Impacts to
surface waters include the build-up of sediments that may be
contaminated with heavy metals or other toxic products, short-
and long-term reductions 3 in pH levels (particularly for lakes
and reservoirs), destruction or degradation of aquatic habitat,
and contamination of drinking water supplies and other human
health issues.
Acid drainage
It is generally acknowledged that one of the major
environmental problems facing the mining industry is the
formation of acid drainage and the associated mobilisation of
contaminants. Commonly called acid mine drainage (AMD) or
acid rock drainage (ARD) primarily depends on the mineralogy
of the rocks and the availability of water and oxygen. AMD
occurs at mine sites when metal sulphide minerals are oxidised.
Before mining, oxidation of these minerals and the formation
of sulphuric acid is a (slow) function of natural weathering
processes. Natural discharge from such deposits poses little
threat to aquatic ecosystems except in rare instances. Mining
and beneficiation operations greatly increase the rate of these
same chemical reactions by removing sulphide rock
overburden material and exposing the material to air and water.
The dominance of the oxidation reactions become obvious
when discharged ground water comes into contact with
oxygen, precipitating iron oxihydroxides and decreasing pH
(Wisotzky and Obermann, 2001). Once acid drainage has
occurred, controlling the releases is a difficult and costly
problem. Hence prediction is becoming an important tool for
regulators and operators. The addition of alkaline substances
(crushed limestone to the overburden before dumping can
reduce the acid drainage (Wisotzky and Obermann, 2001).
Siltation of Nallah and other Retaining Structure
Carrying Capacity: Pumped out water from the sump goes
outside the leasehold boundary and siltation of nallah and other
retaining structure is caused due to erosion of overburden
dumps by rainfall. This also results in the loss of carrying
capacity of the stream thus increasing the potential for
flooding. Water Quality Effect on Human Health: Reduction in
the quantity and deterioration in the quality of water is also an
associated physical effect to nearby dwellers. Impact on health
of human and other creatures using the polluted water is
another identified physical impact. Nutrient levels, such as, N
& P also increases resulting in eutrophication and other water
pollution problem.
Ground Water
Mining operations can affect ground water quality in several
ways. The most obvious occurs in mining below the water
table, either in underground workings or open pits. This
provides a direct conduit to aquifers. Ground water quality is
also affected when waters (natural or process waters or
wastewater) infiltrate through surface materials (including
overlying overburden waste or other material) into ground
water (Thakur, 2013). Contamination can also occur when
there is a hydraulic connection between surface and ground
water. Any of these can cause elevated pollutant levels in
ground water. Further, disturbance in the ground water flow
regime may affect the quantities of water available for other
local uses. Finally, the ground water may recharge surface
3587 Syed Maqbool Geelani et al., Mining and its impacts on environment with special reference to India
water down-gradient of the mine, through contributions to base
flow in a stream channel or springs. Dumping of overburden
should be avoided from mines in valleys or depressed tracts on
the side of mined area that constitute the basic source of water
supply either from surface or groundwater bodies (Nriagu,
1988). In Jamarkatra phosphorite mines, this impact is reflected
as the major waste dumps made in the southern valley that
contains the shallow groundwater and surface water for
providing water supplies.
Impacts on air quality
Air erosion on the dump is very low compared to water erosion
but it also degrades the air environment of the mine leasehold
area as well as outside the boundary (Nriagu, 1988). During the
course of 4 water erosion, material gets loosened and makes it
susceptible to air erosion. The primary air pollutant of concern
at mining sites is particulate matter. US/EPA has established
National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter
with a diameter of less than 10 microns. Operation of heavy
earth moving machinery in the overburden dumps generate
huge amount of dust and the high wind velocity moves the dust
particle to the nearby residential areas which creates a lot of
problems.
The generation of dust particles can be controlled with the
help of following methods: Water sprays can be used for
control.
The slope of the haul road in the dump should be optimized
for the smooth movement of the dumper and that reduces
the dust generation.
Height of the waste rock dumping should be minimized to
reduce the dust generation by wind erosion.
The dumps should be, wherever feasible, made in such a
manner that the impact of predominant wind direction is
minimum.
Wind also entrains dust from overburden dumps and spoil
piles (either dry as disposed or the dry portions of
impoundments), and other disturbed areas. Sprays from
water trucks are often used when the mine is operating.
During temporary closures, particularly after the active life,
stabilization and reclamation should be aimed in part at
reducing fugitive dust emissions. Rock and/or topsoil
covers, possibly with vegetative covers, can be effective
controls.
Noise pollution
The heavy earth moving machinery operations in the
overburden handling leads to an increase in the noise levels in
the nearby residential areas also. However, at the planning
stage the proper selection of the dumpsite can eliminate noise
impacts to the residents. During the operation stage the noise
level in the overburden dump sites can be minimized by the
following methods:
1. Minimize the haul road gradient in the dump as far as
possible. Since the noise level of the dumper depends upon
the power required by the engine. Lower the gradient of the
haul road, lower the power needed and hence the noise
level can be minimized to some extent.
2. Reduce the overburden material falling during the dumping
operation.
Ecological disruption/ impacts
Opencast mining activities cause severe changes to the
landscape. Overburden dumps are man-made habitat causing
multifarious environmental problems ranging from erosion and
enhancing sediment load in receiving water bodies, dust
pollution, damage to visual & aesthetics, fragmentation of
habitat and overall disturbance of ecosystem in the entire area.
The magnitude of ecological impacts depends upon existing
ecological setting of the area where mining activities are taking
place. Sediments deposited in layers in flood plains or
terrestrial ecosystems can produce many impacts associated
with surface waters, ground water, and terrestrial ecosystems.
Minerals associated with deposited sediments may depress the
pH of surface runoff thereby mobilizing heavy metals that can
infiltrate into the surrounding subsoil or can be carried away to
nearby surface waters. The associated impacts could include
substantial pH depression or metals loading to surface waters
and/or persistent contamination of ground water sources.
Contaminated sediments may also lower the pH of soils to the
extent that vegetation and suitable habitat are lost (Barve,
2011).
Effect on aquatic life
The nallas ultimately terminate into river or reservoir. There
the water pollution is caused due to increase in total solids,
other minerals and leachates from the dumps. This results in
reduction of dissolved oxygen of water. This in turn affects the
aquatic life. Discoloration of water is another facet of pollution
from aesthetic point of view. The types of impacts associated
with erosion and sedimentation are numerous, typically
producing both short-term and long-term impacts. In surface
waters, elevated concentrations of particulate matter in the
water column can produce both chronic and acute toxic effects
in fish and other aquatic life.
Loss of soil fertility
The run-off water directly going to nearby fields or passing
through them changes the salt content of soil and subsoil layers
thereby reducing the fertility of the land. This manifests itself
in the form of loss of yield of crop. Apart from this nearby
settlements are always affected by the degraded environment in
terms of water and air pollution, which also affect the health as
well as their production from the fields (Nriagu, 1988). Beyond
the potential for pollutant impacts on human and aquatic life,
there are potential physical impacts associated with the
increased runoff velocities and volumes from new land
disturbance activities. Increased velocities and volumes can
lead to downstream flooding, scouring of stream channels, and
structural damage to bridge footings and culvert entries.
Safety, risk and health
Physical stability of mine is an important long-term
environmental concern because of the amounts of materials
involved and the consequences of slope failure (Mehta, 2002).
Mining operations can result in the formation of slopes
composed mainly of overburden (earth, rock, tailings, other
mine wastes, or combinations of materials). Landslides in the
3588 International Journal of Current Research, Vol. 5, Issue, 12, pp. 3586-3590, December,
2013
hilly terrains due to steepening of slopes during opencast
mining operations
are quite common. Other than sheer physical impacts,
catastrophic slope failure can affect the environment or human
health when toxic materials are released from the failure
especially if it occurs in an area where such a release results in
a direct pathway to receptors (Saxena, 2002). Ensuring
physical stability requires adequate pre-mining design of
overburden waste management units and may require long-
term maintenance. Slope failure results from exceeding the
internal mass strength of the overburden materials composing
the slope. This occurs when the slope angle is increased to a
point where the internal mass strength can no longer withstand
the excess load resulting from over steepening or overloading
of the slope. When the driving forces associated with over
steepening exceed the internal resisting forces, the slope fails
and the materials move to a more stable position. In 1996, Mr
Dhani Ram, senior OM got buried in the OB dump of
Kusmunda Project and then Sub area Manager Mr. O P Singh
could only escape by a hair line difference of the sliding punch
of the OB dump which was momentary. Sliding of some of the
UK dumps which tolled up 100s of the school kids is an
infamous episode. These are the lessons to be learnt for future
for encountering such types of risks and safety from
overburden dumps.
Effect on social life
Settlements near to the overburden dump sites are prone to the
risk of mud sliding from the dumps in the case of slope failure.
In that situation the entire muck etc. enters in the settlement
and affect in many ways (Sengupta, 1993). This was the case
happened in Chilkad and Basti, nearby Khadia overburden
dumps. In the mean time a channel has been constructed
through the Basti to drain run-off water successfully.
Economic valuation of environmental impacts of
overburden
The costs of externalities like soil erosion, fertility loss, water
and air pollution safety risk & health etc. should be envisaged
and commensurate with the production cost so as to highlight
the economic valuation of environmental costs associated with
handling of overburden. These costs of externalities should be
internalized in the cost of production. Overburden dumps
should be both physically and biologically stabilized and the
cost of such reclamation considered as cost of replacement
should be included in the cost of production. Overall this will
provide economic value to the rehabilated overburden dumps
in the long run. It has been established that over 70% of total
annual cost associated with erosion is assigned to the
production loss in the mine as a result of overburden run-off
blocking the haul road and faces and only about 10% of the
total cost in assigned for various control measures to check
siltation and in cleaning maintenance etc. (Adibee, et al.,
2013). Many of the impacts of overburden inside the pit are
generally taken into account of the lost of production.
However, most of the impacts of overburden outside the pit are
still externality and signaling the failure of market for
environmental goods and services and environment
degradation takes place on continual basis. Economic valuation
of environmental impacts of overburden facilitates to draw a
picture of true lost associated with the impacts as well as the
externalities, not being taken into account of the cost of
production.
Overburden management
The following factors are of crucial importance in selecting a
site for disposal of overburden including mines wastes:
i. Proper area for disposal should be identified at the
planning stage.
ii. The sites should always be located on a secure and
impervious base (solid rock if possible).
iii. Their location and building up should ensure minimum
leaching effects due to natural precipitation
iv. The sites should be as far away as possible from natural
water courses, shallow aquifers etc.
i. Where this is not feasible uncontaminated fresh water
streams etc. should be diverted from such waste storage
areas.
ii. Overburden wastes with abnormally high concentrations of
iron sulphides or other undesirable reactive elements
should be disposed off in sanitary landfills.
v. Such dumps and piles must not be permitted to become a
major visual feature of the local landscape. The height of
the dump should preferably to exceed the mature tree top
level in the area. The type and characteristics of the
overburden waste rock is also important in determining the
height of the dump. Low height dumping of pyritical
material minimizes oxidation and leaching, while low
height coal dumps reduce the risk of spontaneous
combustion.
Various techniques for overburden waste disposal
i. Utilization of the overburden and mine waste by back-
filling to help in reclamation, restoration and rehabilitation
of the terrain, without affecting the drainage and water
regimes.
ii. Dumping the over-burden and wastes in available low
lying areas accompanied by leveling and providing soil
cover to utilize the land profitably.
iii. If considered suitable, the wastes may be used as road
metal or construction aggregates, after crushing to proper
size.
iv. The overburden dump must be properly graded and
terraced with contour drainage as necessary.
v. Terracing of overburden dumps must be accompanied by
stabilization of the slopes and terraces using proper
vegetation.
Contamination of water
The effects of untreated effluent of mining industries pumping
into public water ways, releasing harmful gas emission into the
atmosphere, uncontrolled toxic dust, or dumping wastage
which leeches dangerous chemicals into the groundwater table,
has fatal implications to the people living in the surrounding
areas. The infamous Bhopal gas tragedy threatens the health of
an entire new generation of the city’s inhabitants, out of non-
disposed toxic waste contaminating groundwater. One article
states Abdul Jabbar, a crusader for the rights of survivors of the
tragedy, “We believe that around 40,000 people in localities
close to the plant have been drinking the contaminated water
for the last several years”9. Toxic water includes the
contamination of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and
3589 Syed Maqbool Geelani et al., Mining and its impacts on environment with special reference to India
uranium and other pollutants such as arsenic and cyanide
(Warhate, 2006).
Lead: A build up of lead through consumption develops in
the skeleton which is highly dangerous for infants and
children up to the age of six years. High levels of lead in
the blood lead to central nervous system disorders,
decreased vitamin D metabolism, anemia and cancer. For
pregnant women the high prevalence of lead in the blood
may cross over the placenta increasing the risks of birth
defects and difficulties during labor.
Mercury: High levels of mercury can cause brain damage,
paralysis, delirium, and incoherent speech. Exposure to
mercury through food, water and air can cause significant
harm to human health. Methyl mercury, which is the most
commonly found form of mercury in the environment, can
cause permanent damage to the central nervous system,
lungs and kidneys. Methyl mercury intake through fish can
put unborn fetuses at great risk. The mercury can cross the
placental barrier and cause fetal brain damage without any
symptoms in the expectant mother. Newly born infants
may experience mental and physical disabilities and
delayed development of motor and verbal skills. The
symptoms of methyl mercury poisoning are varied and
difficult to detect as they can mimic other illnesses. In
relatively mild cases, the condition is barely
distinguishable from common ailments. Some common
symptoms are headache, fatigue, numbness of extremities,
depression, memory loss, and in extreme cases, madness,
coma or death.
Uranium: The exposure of radioactive wastes to water has
fatal health implications such as increased risks of birth
defects, brain damage and cancers. In Jharkhand women
are delivering physically and mentally challenged children
due to the impact of radiation from uranium mines.
Arsenic: occurs naturally or is possibly aggravated by over
powering aquifers and by phosphorus from fertilizers. High
concentrations of arsenic in water can have an adverse
effect on health. A few years back, high concentrations of
this element was found in drinking water in six districts in
West Bengal. A majority of people in the area was found
suffering from arsenic skin lesions. It was felt that arsenic
contamination in the groundwater was due to natural
causes. The government is trying to provide an alternative
drinking water source and a method through which the
arsenic content from water can be removed (Thakur et al.,
2013).
Cyanide: is used during gold and silver mining to assist in
the dissolving of heavy metals during processing. It is
highly toxic to humans, as it causes a decrease in Vitamin
B12, thyroid damage, decrease in iodine uptake, essential
for hormone production and stability an imbalance of
hormones disrupts the reproductive system. Exposure
during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects and
complications pre and post natal care.
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Evolution of Environment in Mining Industry in India
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Mining has been and continues to be a major contributor to the economic growth of most of the developed and developing countries. India ranks among top five global players in terms of production of several important minerals. A high environmental cost which has been associated with years of unregulated mining and mineral-processing activity made it realised to strike a balance between mineral developments on the one hand and the greening of the environment on the other. Gracefully many technologies to reduce the environmental burden and greening the supply chain in mining sector have been developed. Yet implementation of these technologies is not free from challenges. Attempt has been made in this paper to identify these challenges in the context of Indian mining industries.
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Calculated loading rates of trace metals into the three environmental compartments demonstrate that human activities now have major impacts on the global and regional cycles of most of the trace elements. There is significant contamination of freshwater resources and an accelerating accumulation of toxic metals in the human food chain.
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Seven coal mines are situated in Wardha River Valley. These mines are located at Wani (Dist. Yavatmal of Maharashtra). Out of these, 5 open cast coal mines are run by Western Coal Field Ltd. India. The present study has been undertaken to assess the impacts of mining activities in the adjacent areas. Total 25 samples of water and 19 samples of soil from Nilapur, Bramhani, Kolera, Gowari, Pimpari and Aheri were analyzed for pH, TDS, hardness, alkalinity, fluoride, chloride, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, sulfate, cadmium, lead, zinc, copper, nickel, arsenic, manganese, sodium and potassium, and the results were compared with the limits of Indian Standards: 10500.
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Environmental Impacts of Mining is a comprehensive reference addressing some of the most significant environmental problems associated with mining. These issues include destruction of landscapes, destruction of agricultural and forest lands, sedimentation and erosion, soil contamination, surface and groundwater pollution, air pollution, and waste management. The book presents an agenda for minimizing environmental damage and offers solutions for the restoration and remediation of degraded areas. This book is a ““must have”” for environmental consultants, regulators, planners, workers in the mining industry, geologists, hydrologists, hazardous waste professionals, and instructors in the environmental sciences.
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Waste dumps generated from mining that exposes sulfur-bearing overburden can be active sources of acid generation with the potential to severely contaminate soils, surface and groundwater, and endanger both local and downstream ecosystems. A waste rock management strategy ensure that disposal of such material is inert or at least stable and contained, and minimizes the surface footprint of the wastes, and explores options for alternate uses. Reclamation of waste dumps is another or parallel alternative to decrease the potential for adverse effects. At the coal mining area of Karmozd in Iran, large volumes of wastes have been produced and disposed of without any specific care for the environment. In this paper, the impacts of waste dumps on the environment were identified and this was followed by a research program to determine the characteristics of the wastes, their acid generation potential, the availability of hazardous contaminants, and a prediction of their environmental impacts on the site. Data was collected from the target site and by comparing several reclamation alternatives using a Multi-Attribute Decision-Making technique, forestry was selected as the post-mining land use for the waste dumps. Preliminary evaluations indicated that Zelkava could be a useful tree species for this region.
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In order to mine lignite in open pits the aquifers have to be dewatered and the overburden must be excavated and dumped. The overburden of the Rhineland mining area in Germany mostly contains pyrite, which is partly oxidized due to mining activities. The master variable of all mobilizing reactions in dumps is the content of oxidized pyrite–sulfur, which is formed under surface mining conditions (‘primary pyrite oxidation’). The value must be known for a realistic prediction of the resulting groundwater quality in dumps and in order to determine the amount of required additives to improve water quality. However, substantial methodical difficulties are associated with a proper determination of the average oxidized pyrite–sulfur content. Apart from the discussion of acid mine drainage problems, it is the aim of this article to present methods for determination of the average oxidized pyrite–sulfur content in an unsaturated or a groundwater filled overburden dump (‘dump aquifer’), respectively. For the dumps of the open pit at Garzweiler or the dump aquifer at Zukunft/West an oxidized pyrite–sulfur content of 0.036 or 0.026 wt.% (only about 10% of the average pyrite–sulfur content) has been determined. To improve the groundwater quality in dumps an addition of crushed limestone or a mixture of limestone and fly ashes was considered. Beginning in October 1998, a part of the overburden of the surface mine Garzweiler was added with limestone prior to deposition. In order to prevent a secondary pyrite oxidation in the recultivated areas of the open pit at Garzweiler, the upper part of the dump will contain only non-pyritic sediments in the future.