What toxins does mining release?

Heavy metal toxicity in the environment of a Cadmium gold mine. Cadmium is one of the most toxic chemicals for most organisms. Zinc is also found in gold ore deposits in the form of sphalerite (ZnS), which is often associated with galena. In Appalachia, mining companies literally blow up mountain tops to reach thin veins of coal.

Then they throw millions of tons of debris into streams and valleys below mining farms. Toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, selenium and arsenic seep into local water supplies and poison drinking water. Underground mining can cause tunnels to collapse and land to subside (Betournay, 201). It involves large-scale movements of rocks and residual vegetation, similar to open-pit mining.

In addition, like most traditional forms of mining, underground mining can release toxic compounds into air and water. As water acquires harmful concentrations of minerals and heavy metals, it becomes a pollutant. This contaminated water can contaminate the region surrounding the mine and beyond (Miranda, Blanco-Uribe Q. Mercury is commonly used as an amalgamation agent to facilitate the recovery of some precious minerals (Miranda et al.

Mercury waste then becomes a major source of concern, and its inadequate disposal can cause pollution of the atmosphere and neighboring bodies of water. Most underground mining operations increase sedimentation in nearby rivers through the use of hydraulic pumps and suction dredges; cleaning with hydraulic pumps removes the upper layer of soil, of great ecological value, containing seed banks, making it difficult to recover vegetation (Miranda et al. Deforestation due to mining leads to the disintegration of biomes and contributes to the effects of erosion.