By Dr. Luiz D. de Lacerda, Professor Dr. Wim Salomons (auth.)
Due to its inherent features, mercury infection from gold mining is a big environmental challenge in comparison to previous mercury infection from business aspect assets. The worsening of social-economical stipulations and lengthening gold costs within the past due Seventies ended in a brand new rush for gold by way of person marketers for whom Hg amalgamation is an inexpensive and simply conducted operation. Even after the present-day mining components are exhausted, the mercury left in the back of will stay a part of the biochemical cycle of the tropical woodland. This booklet stories the present info on mercury from gold mining, its biking within the surroundings and its long term ecotoxicological effect. The publication is illustrated with various diagrams and photographs.
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Extra info for Mercury from Gold and Silver Mining: A Chemical Time Bomb?
1991) Kim et a1. 1991). Wind speed is a key factor controlling the degassing of Hg from natural soils and water surfaces, thus the absence of plant cover on tailings may increase Hg degassing. Over mineralized areas containing cinnabar deposits, degassing rates can reach up to 60 Ilg Hg m- 2 year-1 (Rasmussen 1994). Contaminated soils and tailings tend to show degassing rates linearly proportional to Hg concentrations in the first 15 em of soil (Lechler 1993), similar to soils over geological anomalies (Rasmussen 1994).
The same behavior was found by Lacerda et al. (1991a) at the Tanque dos Padres tailings, Mato Grosso State. 04 Ilg g-I) in the first 100 m along the drainage. Although Hg leaching from tailings seems a slow process, over the years, the migration of tailings themselves may be the most important Hg dispersal mechanism. 1993). At the Falsom-Natomas region, California, it has been suggested that groundwater migration could export Hg from 1868 dredge tailings, based on anomalous concentrations found in groundwater samples from that area.
The fluxes of Hgo have an important geochemical significance, since Hg can reach up to 15 % of the atmospheric deposition over natural areas (Vandal et al. 1993). Tailings (Fig. 2) are by far the most important site of Hg degassing, since they can reach Hg concentrations of over 5000 Ilg g-I. In certain area such as the Folsom Canal, California, degassing from tailings is a potential source of Hg to humans living in urban developments built on tailings left from gold mining from the last century (Prokopovich 1984).