Abstract

Metals have been central to the development of human civilization from the Bronze Age to the present although historically, mining and smelting have been the cause of local environmental pollution with the potential to harm human health. Despite problems from artisanal mining in some developing countries, modern mining for Western standards now uses the best available mining technology combined with environmental monitoring, mitigation and remediation measures to control emissions to the environment. The relocation and removal of large quantities of mineral and waste could also release chemicals into the environment including surface water, ground water and soil during the mining lifecycle. There are only few published methods available for prioritizing hazardous chemicals. These fail to recognize differences between organic and inorganic chemicals make it necessary to develop separate screening and prioritization procedures for those two different classes of chemicals. In this study, we focus on the development of screening and prioritization procedure in risk assessment for inorganic chemicals with particular reference to those used, generated and released in mining operations.

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