A. Saghatelyan, L.Sahakyan, O. Belyaeva; Conference Proceedings of the 13th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference (SGEM 2013). 16-22 June, 2013, Albena, Bulgaria. Vol. 1. Ecology, Economics, Education and Legislation, 2013, pp. 489-496; DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2013/BE5.V1/S20.065
The research covers issues of safety of farm produce of both plant and animal origin obtained from farmlands located within mining impact zones. Ore deposits are localized within the bounds of biogeochemical provinces. Basic ore forming elements dominate geochemical landscape and the ecosystem has been evolutionary adapted to their natural concentrations. Ore contains insignificant quantities of commercially invaluable admixtures of elements, which before deployment of deposits are not practically fixed in environmental substrates. Such elements are not extracted while mining and treating ore, and stay in mining dumps and dressing tails. There they become mobile, then enter geochemical migration streams. A good example is Armenia’s active deposits of diverse ore formations. On the Kajaran copper-porphyry deposit, established was Hg transfer with runoffs that originates from the adit and tailing repositories. Established was also Hg pollution of soils of re-cultivated tailing repositories. Hg was detected in fodder crops and via food chain – in cow milk. In vegetable crops, Hg contents exceeded MAC by 8-30 times. On the Kapan copper-pyrite deposit, ore waters empty into irrigation network consequently polluting irrigated farmlands with heavy metaloids emphasizing lead. Pb concentrations in cultivated farm crops are 3-6 time excessive vs. MAC. While dressing ores of Akhtala poly-metallic (Pb-Zn) deposit, tails mix with surface water streams polluting downstream farmlands with metaloids including Cd, which concentrations in farm produce exceed MAC by tens to hundreds times. The noted elements belong to the 1st category of hazard. They have bio-accumulation properties and entering food chains become the major risk factor to local people. This allows concluding that techno-economic requirements to exploitation of ore deposits should be developed with regard to the noted factor.
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