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

By Nick Cato, Shahid Mahmud

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Only then may high levels of metals (arsenic, for example) trigger concerns. Tailings and waste rock at metal mines usually contain trace concentrations of heavy metals that may be released as fugitive dust to contaminate areas downwind as coarse particles settle out of suspension in the air. Stabilization and reclamation ef forts are aimed in part at reducing fugitive dust emissions; remediation often must address the downwind soil contamination. 7 Physical Impacts from Mine and Waste Management Units Mine structures and waste management units pose a unique set of problems for a site manager in planning and conducting remediations at mine sites.

Total cyanide refers to all of the cyanide present in any form, including iron, cobalt, and gold complexes. Cyanide Amenable to Chlorination (CATC). CATC cyanide refers to the cyanide that is destroyed by chlorination. CATC is commonly used at water treatment plants. , EPA established a maximum contaminant level [MCL] under the Safe Drinking Water Act and recommended an ambient water quality criterion for protection of freshwater aquatic life under the Clean Water Act). Mining-related standards and guidelines developed more recently by states often specify W AD cyanide, largely because of the difficulty in measuring free cyanide at the low concentrations of regulatory concern.

Mining activities have been an integral part of the economy and culture of our nation since the mid-1800's. Mining and mineral beneficiation operations continue today at numerous locations, largely under the auspices and environmental control of State regulatory agencies and the purview of federal land managing agencies (EPA National Hardrock Mining Framework, 1997). The largest mining-associated environmental response task faced by governmental agencies today involves the tens of thousands of abandoned mine sites which stem from the intense mining and industrial development activities that occurred largely between the 1860's and postWorld War II.

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