AEF: Acidic Drainage of Mines and Its Ecological Hazards

AEF: Acidic Drainage of Mines and Its Ecological Hazards

Most metallic mines in Armenia, which are developed, non-operated and prospected, have a huge potential for acidic ore drainage. These are both gold-sulphide formation mines (Amulsar, Armanis, Litchqaz-Tey, Sotq, Meghradzor, Tukh Manuk, Drmbon etc) and copper and molybdenum and polymetallic mines (Agarak, Dastakert, Teghout, Qajaran, Kashen, Kavart, Shahumyan etc). For this very reason, we would like to briefly outline the analyses and data carried out by American Earthworks and several other companies on the acidic drainage of mines and their real ecological hazards. Acids generating in mines are able to contaminate and make rivers and water courses empty, which may last for hundreds of years. Acidic drainage of mines may have very serious consequences for fish, animals and vegetation. Emissions of acids and heavy metals from Zortman-Landusky gold mine, Montana State, US, have eliminated the whole biological life in dozen water courses in this mountainous area. Continous Contamination Acidic drainage of mines is particularly hazardous, as it continues its “black” activities long years after the end of the mining. “There isn’t even one example of metallic open mine, where it was possible to stop wide-scale acidic acidic drainage.” In 2016 the Earthworks organization published “Polluting the Future” report, where striking data were first presented on the continuously polluted national water resources in the USA because of mining activities. The report proves that over 40 metallic mines annually contaminate over 4.5-7 billion liters of water, which requires extremely expensive cleaning measures. Many facts have been recorded when river ecosystems get eliminated because of acidic drainage of mines and emissions. For example, the acidic drainage in Summitville gold mine, Colorado State, resulted in the elimination of the whole biodiversity in 27-kilometer-long section of the river. According to Environmental Protection Agency, US $ 24-54 billion will be required to eliminate all the consequences of all derelict metallic mine pollution (see here). Unfortunately, the acidic drainage of mines is almost paid no attention to in Armenia by experts, especially by state competent bodies. Amulsar gold mining project is supported at the governmental level, which activities will result in an eternal acidic bomb for Jermuk, Vorotan-Arpa aqueduct, Spandaryan and Kechout reservoirs and Lake Sevan, Arpa and Vorotan river basins. We think this is not only an environmental matter, but also a matter of population safety, as freshwater and mineral water reserves in the region are put at risk.

11:58 March 01, 2017

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