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Articles on Mine tailings

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Artisanal small-scale gold mining polluted this stream and deforested sections of the Madre de Dios area of Peru. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Gold rush, mercury legacy: Small-scale mining for gold has produced long-lasting toxic pollution, from 1860s California to modern Peru

Small-scale gold mining operations in developing countries are major sources of toxic mercury pollution, using techniques that haven't changed much since the California Gold Rush 150 years ago.
The January 2019 collapse of a dam in Brumadinho, Brazil, sent mining tailings and mud over the landscape for miles, destroying this bridge and killing 300 people. Andre Penner/AP

Mine waste dams threaten the environment, even when they don’t fail

Dams built to hold enormous quantities of toxic mining waste have a long history of spills. Decisions in the Pacific Northwest threaten three free-flowing rivers there.
After 48 hours of frantic effort, Brazilian rescue workers have called off their search for survivors at a collapsed dam in Minas Gerais state. AP Photo/Leo Correa

Dam collapse at Brazilian mine exposes grave safety problems

Nearly 1,800 Brazilian dams are at risk of failure, according to the government. Fixing them is expensive – but ignoring aging dams can have considerable social, economic and environmental costs.
Mineral processing tailings are pumped into a storage facility. Are there still valuable commodities in this waste?

Treasure from trash: how mining waste can be mined a second time

Identifying mine waste materials as economic resources will help support global demand for critical metals, boosting the mining industry during the downturn. All with environmental benefits.

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