Acid Mine Drainage
Definition - What does Acid Mine Drainage mean?
Acid mine drainage is known as one of the most severe threats to water brought about by mining. A mine's drainage substances such as acid can destroy streams, rivers and aquatic life.
The effects of this phenomenon are so immense that it can cause devastation that could last for hundreds to thousands of years.
Acid mine drainage is also known as acid metalliferous drainage (AMD) or acid rock drainage (ARD).
Corrosionpedia explains Acid Mine Drainage
Metal mines are the target for minerals such as copper, silver and gold that are rich in minerals like sulfide. During the mining process, the sulfides produced are exposed to the air and water, which react to create sulfuric acid.
This type of acid is capable of dissolving other damaging metalloids and metals like arsenic found in surrounding rock. Acid mine drainage is capable of being released in any mine location so long as sulfides are exposed to water and air, as well as other areas like open pits, leach pads and waste piles.
This can be very dangerous as it can cause harm even after the mining has stopped. Thus, prompt identification of its occurrence is vital to prevent or remedy the condition. One of the common treatments includes neutralizing the acid with lime and other substances such as calcium silicate and carbonate. Ion exchange is also utilized to wash away toxic chemicals such as sulfates and chlorides from the water.