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A Methodological Approach Towards a Global Environmental Impact Assessment of Acid Mine Drainage Using Copper Mining Processes as an Example

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  • Within the context of acid mine drainage (AMD) associated with mining activities worldwide there has been a tremendous research effort to determine the extent of AMD and assess the influencing factors controlling this process. However, the majority of the current approaches focus on local and regional scale case studies and do not provide a global scale picture of AMD potentials. This study attempts to develop a method aiming at a global environmental impact assessment related to AMD. To confine the complex topic this study concentrates on acidic emissions from heaps in consequence of copper mining processes. In order to pursue this approach two factors are of significant advantage: a comprehensive environmental data base of more then 600 copper sites worldwide and a method which has been developed and proven to be successful in assessing environmental impacts related to land use. Current and future research efforts focus on using this background knowledge to enable both a comparison between sites and a categorisation of sites according to emission estimates.

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