Monday, November 29, 2010

The Negative Environmental Impacts of Gold Refining


Currently large-scale gold mining and refining has a wide range of damaging environmental effects. 'Green gold' is refined using a revolutionary new process that mitigates many of these negative environmental effects. The following blog discussion will outline the negative environmental effects of gold mining and refining: The severe problems that 'green gold' can reduce or eliminate. Gold is usually mined in large open-pit mines. Open-pit mines are simply large holes in the ground rather than from tunnels in what we commonly think of as a mine. In an open-pit a deep pit is dug as layers of earth are scrapped away. These pits can alter the flow of rivers, disrupt underwater aquifers and water sources and create noise pollution while releasing dust and particulate matter into the atmosphere. It can also require roads, buildings and even whole towns be relocated. It also releases sulfuric acid, arsenic and copper, that can contaminate the water supply. (“Environmental impact of mining in the rainforest”, http://rainforests.mongabay.com/0808.htm.)
The ore that is removed from the open-pit is then 'roasted' – burned at very high temperatures. This process consumes a great deal of energy and releases many harmful compounds into the atmosphere. This process releases mercury into the atmosphere a very bad negative effect for the environment. (Rastogi, 2010) Next, the roasted material is doused with cyanide, another chemical that is damaging to the environment. This dousing process extracts the gold. However, the waste that results, known as tailings, is contaminated with many chemicals and very dangerous for the environment. According to The Washington Post, “Gold tailing ponds and piles are chock-full of contaminants such as arsenic, antimony, residual cyanide and mercury, and so must be carefully managed to avoid generating runoff or coming into contact with wildlife.” Clearly, gold mining and refining techniques are very bad for the environment. This is the problem that 'green gold' offers a solution to.(Rastogi, 2010) 

By Abdullah Alkhaldi 



References

“Environmental impact of mining in the rainforest”. Mongabay. http://rainforests.mongabay.com/0808.htm.

Rastogi, Nina Shen.  (September 21, 2010).“Production of gold has many negative environmental effects”. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/20/AR2010092004730.html.

2 comments:

  1. Nonsense, not in sync with modern gold mining techniques and methodologies. U.S. gold mining companies are required to reclaim and restore the terrain to eco-friendly conditions. Toxic chemicals used or produced by the gold mining process are required to be mitigated or permits are not granted in the first place. This alarmist rhetoric is harmful to an essential industry.

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