Different industries produce toxic waste materials. Mining is one of the top producers of these hazardous wastes. The industry has made significant contributions, allowing you to enjoy your smartphones, TV screens, cars, and a host of other products that use raw materials mined from earth. But mining has also led to pollution and health hazards, among other negative impacts.
This is why professional chemical waste disposal is necessary. With waste disposal management, mining companies can operate with minimal damage to the environment and communities.
What are these chemical wastes that need proper disposal?
Tailings or mine processing wastes are powdery toxic waste products, which consist of ground mineral, rock, and leftover processing chemicals. It can also contain arsenic, cyanide, and mercury. Extraction and processing operations produce the chemical waste. Mining companies deposit the material in storage areas called “tailings ponds,” which feature monolithic dams.
Accidents, which involve the destruction of tailings ponds, have caused massive environmental damage. The waste material spills over natural habitats, such as forests and rivers. While mining companies can do cleanup after an accident, the job is much too difficult.
Processed with Ore
Other mining waste materials with high levels of toxicity have a mixture of chemicals, which process ore. These include sulfuric acid, solvents, and cyanide. Mining companies often need these to separate minerals from the rock.
Waste materials from mines also contain ammonium nitrate, lead, mercury, nitric acid, and many more. These waste materials are so toxic that they leave serious damage to the environment and communities. Mercury, in particular, is a neurotoxin and exposure could cause cancer in some people.
Fortunately, the mining industry and regulatory bodies are taking steps to limit or eliminate damage to the environment and people. And proper waste disposal management can reduce further effects.