Polymetallic pollution from abandoned mines in Mediterranean regions: a multidisciplinary approach to environmental risks

Abstract : Abandoned mines are a recurrent problem for nearby communities in Mediterranean regions because mine tailings represent a major source of polymetallic contamination. Metal contaminants are emitted in mining areas and dispersed by wind and water erosion in the surroundings. The goal of this literature review was to identify the specific features of polymetallic contamination arising from abandoned mines in the Mediterranean regions. Mediterranean climate conditions and local geochemical context are the most important factors that control the metal-bearing particle dispersion toward the different compartments of ecosystems. Acid mine drainage, as an important source of damage to the environment, is limited to a certain extent by the predominance of carbonate rocks in the Mediterranean regions. In opposite, aeolian contamination is specific to the semiarid conditions of the Mediterranean climate. In this context, impacts on different compartments such as agricultural soils and edible plants or human populations were underlined. The analysis of environmental laws and regulations of North and South Mediterranean countries shows that one of the main differences is the lack of identification and definition of mining waste as a public concern in the latter countries. In order to limit the transfer of contaminants from mining waste to the different components of the environment, phytostabilization of mine tailings was considered as the more adapted green technology even in the Mediterranean region where water access is limited. Finally, this review of polymetallic pollution from abandoned mines in Mediterranean regions enabled to identify priority actions for future research.
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Submitted on : Friday, August 19, 2016 - 10:50:33 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 10:10:08 AM

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Patrick Doumas, Marguerite Munoz, Mohamed Banni, Sylvia Becerra, Odile Bruneel, et al.. Polymetallic pollution from abandoned mines in Mediterranean regions: a multidisciplinary approach to environmental risks. Regional Environmental Change, Springer Verlag, 2016, ⟨10.1007/s10113-016-0939-x⟩. ⟨hal-01354661⟩

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