Water pollution problems associated with surface metal-nonmetal mines throughout the United States were assessed. Three major problems were identified: acid mine drainage, toxic concentrations of heavy metals, and excessive sedimentation. Among the factors that affect the type and amount of pollutants generated at mine sites are hydrologic regime, geology, mineralogy, topography, climate, size of the mineralized area, and mining methods. Nine surface mines situated in different settings were visited and the pollution problems were studied, a detailed evaluation of the pollution problems at one mine indicated that a diversion system and treatment plant would be the most effective means of abatement for the existing water quality problems. Based on this study and three other porphyry copper mines with differing problems, a water management plan was conceived for a new source copper mine.
Wapora, Inc., & Ketron, Inc.