AMD. THE GLOBAL CRISIS 

effects acid mine drainage

Acid Mine Drainage

AMD Remediation

how to treat acid water

mine tailings

Acid drainage is a little-known global crisis. The UN has labelled AMD as the second biggest problem facing the world after global warming. In the US, an estimated 22,000km of streams and 180,000 acres of freshwater reservoirs are affected by acid mine drainage. Rivers and lakes in Arizona, Patagonia, Guangdong (China), Ontario, Papua New Guinea and at Rio Tinto in Spain, to name just a few, have all been polluted by AMD. In South Africa, the problem is disastrous, with more than 36 million cubic meters of AMD leakages a day imploding into the regions water.

NORTH AMERICA

 

The cost of AMD remediation at abandoned mines alone has been estimated to be in the tens of billions USD. 

“Source for costs - Dr Michael Short, School of Natural and Built Environments – UniSA, January 2016”

PINS REPRESENT MULTIPLE SITES

AUSTRALIA

18,000 AMD producing mines in Australia alone, with over 600 mines in critical need of a total acid management solution, Australia represents just 2% of the global AMD issue.

Our first commercial installation: Frances Creek Mine. NT

WHAT IS AMD?

AMD is a form of water pollution that occurs when rain, runoff, or streams come into contact with rock that is rich in sulphur. As a result, the water becomes very acidic and damages downstream aquatic ecosystems.  It mostly occurs where mining is done to extract coal or metals from sulphur-bearing rocks. Silver, gold, copper, zinc, and lead are commonly found in association with metal sulphates, therefore their extraction can cause acid mine drainage.  Long after those mines are closed, the effects of acid mine drainage continue to manifest and contaminate waters as well as ecosystems.

AMD LIFECYCLE

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Drinking water becomes contaminated. Groundwater can be affected, impacting local water wells.

Water with a very low pH can support only severely reduced animal and plant diversity. Fish species are some of the first to disappear. In the most acidic streams, only some specialised bacteria survive.

Due to its corrosive nature, acidic stream water damages infrastructure such as culverts, bridges, and storm water pipes.

Recreational activities, e.g. fishing, swimming and scenic value for streams or rivers affected by acid mine drainage are greatly reduced. 

“Acid Mine Drainage (“AMD”) is a little-known global crisis. The UN has even labelled it the second biggest problem facing the world after global warming.”

STEPHEN TUFFNELL

Associate Professor of Modern US History, University of Oxford

In the spirit of reconciliation the team at Global Aquatica acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of  Australia and their connections to the land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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