Environmental Geology

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 205–216 | Cite as

Environmental impact assessment of open pit mining in Iran

  • M. Monjezi
  • K. Shahriar
  • H. Dehghani
  • F. Samimi Namin
Original Article


Mining is widely regarded as having adverse effects on environment of both magnitude and diversity. Some of these effects include erosion, formation of sinkhole, biodiversity loss and contamination of groundwater by chemical from the mining process in general and open-pit mining in particular. As such, a repeatable process to evaluate these effects primarily aims to diminish them. This paper applies Folchi method to evaluate the impact of open-pit mining in four Iranian mines that lacked previous geo-environmental assessment. Having key geologic resources, these mines are: Mouteh gold mine, Gol-e-Gohar and Chogart iron mines, and Sarcheshmeh copper mine. The environmental components can be defined as public health and safety, social relationships, air and water quality, flora and fauna hence, various impacting factors from the mining activities were estimated for each environmental component. For this purpose, each impacting factor was first given a magnitude, based solely on the range of possible scenarios. Thereafter, a matrix of weighted factors was derived to systematically quantify and normalize the effects of each impacting factor. The overall impact upon each individual environmental component was then calculated by summing the weighted rates. Here, Folchi method was applied to evaluate those environmental conditions. Based on the acquired results, the present paper finally concludes that amongst four case histories in Iran, Sarcheshmeh copper mine significantly affects the environment, with critical level of air pollution there.


Environmental effects Open pit mines Folchi method Gol-e-Gohar mine Chogart mine Sarcheshmeh mine Mouteh mine 


  1. Antunes SC, Castro BB, Pereira R, Gonçalves F (2008) Contribution for tier 1 of the ecological risk assessment of Cunha Baixa uranium mine (Central Portugal): II. Soil ecotoxicological screening. Sci Total Environ 390:387–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashtiani M (2005) Environmental Considerations in the Mines. Paper presented at the 1st Environmental Considerations in the Mines, National Conference, Kerman, Iran, pp 30–38Google Scholar
  3. Baker DE, Amacher MC (1982) Nickel, copper, Zinc and Cadmium. In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds) Methods of soil analysis: part 2. Chemical and microbiological properties, 2nd edn. Agronomy no.9. American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America, Madison, pp 323 ± 336Google Scholar
  4. Barnes HL (1979) Geochemistry of hydro thermal ore deposits. Wiley Inter science, NYGoogle Scholar
  5. Berner EK, Berner RA (1987) The global water cycle, Geo chemistry and environment. Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  6. Blodgett S, Kuipers JR (2002) Technical Report on underground hard-rock mining: subsidence and hydrologic environmental impacts. Center for Science in Public Participation, pp 36–38Google Scholar
  7. Boulegue G, Michard G (1979) sulphur speciation and redox processes in reducing environments in chemical modeling in aques systems. In: Jenne EA (ed) Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Ser. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Bozkurt S, Moreno L, Neretnieks I (2008) Long-term processes in waste deposits. Sci Total Environ 250:101–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Casiot C, Ujevic M, Munoz M, Seidel JL, Elbaz-Poulichet F (2007) Antimony and arsenic mobility in a creek draining an antimony mine abandoned 85 years ago (upper Orb basin, France). Appl Geochem 22:788–798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chakraborty MK, Ahmad M, Singh RS, Pal D, Bandopadhyay C, Chaulya SK (2002) Determination of the emission rate from various opencast mining operations. Environ Model Softw 17:467–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chalupnik S, Wysocka M (2008) Radium removal from mine waters in underground treatment installations. J Environ Radioact (in press)Google Scholar
  12. Charbonnier P (2001) Management of mining, quarrying and ore-processing waste in the European Union. BRGM service EPI, FranceGoogle Scholar
  13. Cravotta CAIII (2003) Size and performance of anoxic limestone drains to neutralize acidic mine drainage. J Environ Qual 32:1277–1289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Daskalakis DK, Helz GR (1999) Solubility of CdS (Greenockite) in sulphidic waters at 25°C. Environ Sci Technol 26:2462–2468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Driussi C, Jansz J (2006) Pollution minimisation practices in the Australian mining and mineral processing industries. J Clean Prod 14:673–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dudka S, Adriano DC (1997) Environmental impacts of metal ore mining and processing: a review. J Environ Qual 26:590–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Faure G (1991) Principles and applications of inorganic geochemistry. Macmillan Publ. Co, NYGoogle Scholar
  18. Fernández-Gálvez J, Barahona E, Iriarte A, Mingorance MD (2007) A simple methodology for the evaluation of groundwater pollution risks. Sci Total Environ 378:67–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Folchi R (2003) Environmental Impact Statement for Mining with Explosives: A Quantitative Method, I.S.E.E. Paper presented at the 29th Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique. Northville, Tennessee, USAGoogle Scholar
  20. Gang MA, Langmuir D (1974) Controls on heavy metals in surface and ground waters affected by coal mine drainage. Paper presented at 5th Symp. Coal mine drainage research, Washington DC Natl. Coal AssocGoogle Scholar
  21. Gobling S (2001) Entropy Production as a Measure for Resource Use Applied to Metallurgical Processes. Paper presented at The Science and Culture of Industrial Ecology (ISIE Conference)Google Scholar
  22. Granger HC, Warren CG (1969) Unstable sulphur compounds and the origin of rull-type uranium deposits. Econ Geol 64:160–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hamilton EI (2000) Environmental variables in a holistic evaluation of land contaminated by historic mine wastes: a study of multi-element mine wastes in West Devon, England using arsenic as an element of potential concern to human health. Sci Total Environ 249:171–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hancock GR, Turley E (2006) Evaluation of proposed waste rock dump designs using the SIBERIA erosion model. Env Geol 49:765–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hansen Y, Broadhurst JL, Petrie JG (2008) Modelling leachate generation and mobility from copper sulphide tailings–An integrated approach to impact assessment. Miner Eng 21:288–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Haupt C, Mistry M, Wilde J (2001) Development of Measures to Minimize Adverse Ecological Effects Generated by Abandoned Mines in Developing Countries. INSTITUT FÜR BERGBAUKUNDE I. der Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen 51–54Google Scholar
  27. Hedin RS, Watzlaf GR (1994) The effects of anoxic limestone drains on mine water chemistry. US Bureau of Mines Special Publication SP 06A, pp 185–194Google Scholar
  28. Holland HD (1978) The chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans. Wiley, NYGoogle Scholar
  29. Jha RKT, Satur J, Hiroyoshi N, Ito M, Tsunekawa M (2008) Carrier-microencapsulation using Si–catechol complex for suppressing pyrite floatability. Miner Eng (in press)Google Scholar
  30. Jimeno LC, Jimeno LE, Carcedo FJA (1995) Drilling and blasting of rocks. Geo-mining Technological Institute of Spain, pp 345–351Google Scholar
  31. Jordanov SH, Maletic M, Dimitrov A, Slavkov D, Paunovic P (2007) Waste waters from copper ores mining/flotation in ‘Bucbim’ mine: characterization and remediation. Desalination 213:65–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kalin M, Fyson A, Wheeler WN (2006) The chemistry of conventional and alternative treatment systems for the neutralization of acid mine drainage. Sci Total Environ 366:395–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kleiv RA, Thornhill M (2008) Predicting the neutralization of acid mine drainage in anoxic olivine drains. Miner Eng 21:279–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krekeler MPS, Morton J, Lepp J, Tselepis CM, Samsonov M, Kearns LE (2007) Mineralogical and geochemical investigation of clay-rich mine tailings from a closed phosphate mine, Bartow Florida, USA. Environmental Geology. doi: 10.1007/s00254-007-0971-8
  35. Langmuir D (1997) Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  36. Marescotti P, Carbone C, De Capitani L, Grieco G, Lucchetti G, Servida D (2008) Mineralogical and geochemical characterisation of open-air tailing and waste-rock dumps from the Libiola Fe-Cu sulphide mine (Eastern Liguria, Italy). Env Geol 53:1613–1626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pain DJ, Sanchez A, Meharg AA (1998) The Donana ecological disaster: Contamination of a world heritage estuarine marsh ecosystem with acidified pyrite mine waste. Sci Total Environ 222:45–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pereira R, Antunes SC, Marques SM, Gonçalves F (2008) Contribution for tier 1 of the ecological risk assessment of Cunha Baixa uranium mine (Central Portugal): I Soil chemical characterization. Sci Total Environ 390:377–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Petruk W (2000) Applied mineralogy in the mining industry, 1st edn. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  40. Pezeshkan M, Jazayeri SA, Damghani B (2005) Mines and Mining in Iran. Public relations department of Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO)Google Scholar
  41. Rawat NS (2003) A study of physicochemical characteristics of respirable dust in an Indian coal mine. Sci Total Environ 23:47–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ritcy GM (1989) Tailings management: problems and solutions in the mining industry. Environ Int 26:389–394Google Scholar
  43. Sare IR, Mardel JI, Hill AJ (2001) Wear-resistant metallic and elastomeric materials in the mining and mineral processing industries—an overview. Wear 250:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sengupta M (1993) Environmental Impacts of Mining: Monitoring, Restoration, and Control, CRC Press. ISBN 0873714415, pp 3–20Google Scholar
  45. Shahriar K, Samimi Namin F (2007) A new approach to waste dump site selection according to the fuzzy decision-making process. Canadian Institute of mining, metallurgy and petroleum CIM, vol 100. pp 1–6Google Scholar
  46. Shikazono N, Zakir HM, Sudo Y (2008) Zinc contamination in river water and sediments at Taisyu Zn–Pb mine area, Tsushima Island, Japan. J Geochem Explor 98:80–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shin EJ, Lauve A, Carey M, Bukovsky E, Ranville JF, Evans RJ, Herring AM (2008) The development of bio-carbon adsorbents from Lodgepole Pine to remediate acid mine drainage in the Rocky Mountains. Biomass Bioenergy 32:267–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shu WS, Ye ZH, Lan CY, Zhang ZQ, Wong MH (2001) Acidification of lead/zinc mine tailings and its effect on heavy metal mobility. Environ Int 26:389–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smith ML, Williams RE (1996a) Examination of methods for evaluating remaining a mine waste site. Part I. Geostat Charact Methodol Eng Geol 43:11–21Google Scholar
  50. Smith ML, Williams RE (1996b) Examination of methods for evaluating remaining a mine waste site. Part II. Indicator kriging for selective remediation. Eng Geol 43:23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tadesse S (2000) Environmental Policy in Mining: Corporate Strategy and Planning for Closure. A contribution to published book. ISBN 1–56670-365-4. pp 415–422Google Scholar
  52. Taylor J, Waters J (2003) Treating ARD–how, when, where and why. Min Environ Manag 11:6–9Google Scholar
  53. White L (1991) Environmental Engineering - an Evolving Discipline of Increasing Importance to Mining. Min Eng 43:1309Google Scholar
  54. Wills BA (2006) Mineral processing technology: an introduction to the practical aspects of ore treatment and mineral recovery, 7th edn. Elsevier, Butterworth Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  55. Younger PL, Coulton RH, Froggatt EC (2005) The contribution of science to risk-based decision-making: lessons from the development of full-scale treatment measures for acidic mine waters at Wheal Jane, UK. Sci Total Environ 338:137–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zhong Z (1998) Overview of national mineral policy in China: opportunities and challenges for the mineral industries. Resour Policy 23:79–90Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Monjezi
    • 1
  • K. Shahriar
    • 2
  • H. Dehghani
    • 2
  • F. Samimi Namin
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Faculty of Mining and Metallurgical EngineerAmirkabir University of TechnologyTehranIran
  3. 3.Faculty of EngineeringZanjan UniversityZanjanIran

Personalised recommendations