WIT Press


Impact Of Placer Gold Mine Technology On Water Quality: A Case Study Of Tuul River Valley In The Zaamar Goldfield, Mongolia

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/WRM110261

Volume

145

Pages

10

Page Range

309 - 318

Published

2011

Size

1212 kb

Author(s)

B. Byambaa & Y. Todo

Abstract

The paper finds that placer gold mining operation has significant impact on the surface water quality, which varies from mine to mine depending on the types of gold recovery technologies applied. Only primitive gold recovery technologies are dominating in the Zaamar goldfield. We assume that the mines with foreign ownership have cleaner technologies with less impact on the water quality than the local ones. But results from the water quality measurement and surveys at the field show that mines with joint ownerships of Russian or Chinese companies in Zaamar area have more polluting technologies than the local smaller companies. Keywords: technology impact, placer gold mine, surface water quality, mine ownership, Zaamar goldfield, lower Tuul river basin. 1 Introduction The mining industry is now being considered as a main source of the growth and development of Mongolia. It is significantly contributing to the economic and social development, and it is expected to be the main source of long-term growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) foresees a double-digit annual growth rate of the mining industry for years to come; the country’s GDP is expected to rise by as much as 10 percent per year, from the current $5 billion to $30 billion by 2020, as a result of outputs from mining alone. Meanwhile, per capita income is expected to quadruple from $3,000 in 2008 to $12,000 by 2015 (Economist [2]). In fact, the mining industry has direct impacts on the environment, in particular on the health of the country’s river systems (Senjim [11]). According to the latest surface water census made by the Ministry of Nature and Environment of Mongolia in 2007, 900 streams and small rivers have

Keywords

technology impact, placer gold mine, surface water quality, mineownership, Zaamar goldfield, lower Tuul river basin