The environmental impact of iron ore mining, in all its phases of, from excavation to beneficiation to transportation, may include detrimental effects on air quality, water quality, and biological species.
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Due to the worldwide increase in mineral production, it is important that environmental impacts from mining and mineral processing be properly assessed. This chapter covers the impacts of mining and mineral processing relating to six areas of concern: air quality, water quality and quantity, acid mine drainage, ecological impacts, land impacts, and economic impacts.
Regional effects include acid precipitation, primarily from coal and oil combustion with its impact on soil, vegetation and lakes. Fine particles of toxic trace metals which accumulate in soil and in animal and human food chains are often dispersed during mining and refining operations.
Mining and processing ore can have considerable impact on the environment. Surface mines can create enormous pits in the ground as well as large piles of overburden and tailings that need to be reclaimed, i.e., restored to a useful landscape. Since 1977 surface mines in U.S. are required to be reclaimed, and commonly reclamation is relatively well done in this country.
Because iron is more soluble than iron , when an electron hops to an iron atom at the mineral surface, that iron atom can be released into solution, and dramatically affect the chemistry and mineralogy of soils and surface waters. Iron reduction is particularly important for the mobility of contaminants in the environment.
extracted ending up as waste. By contrast, iron mining is less wasteful, with approximately 60 percent of the ore extracted processed as waste . Disposing of such large quantities of waste poses tremendous challenges for the mining industry and may significantly impact the environment. The impacts are often more
June 10, 2020
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