The Black Sea: A Georeactor to Immobilize Metal Wastes

  • R. D. SchuilingEmail author
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Industries in many countries produce a range of metal wastes (metal sludges, residues from etching baths or galvanization processes, metal-rich fly ashes, tailings from ore dressing operations, metallurgical slags etc.). If the metals cannot be recycled, these wastes are disposed in specially adapted isolated landfills, often after conversion into (hydro-)oxide sludges. Such metal-rich waste deposits will require “eternal” monitoring, and even under the best conditions offer no guarantee that the heavy metals will not contaminate the surrounding soil and ground water at some unknown time in the future. Each of these deposits is, therefore, like a time bomb, which is going to go off at some unknown moment in the (near) future. There is an urgent need to solve the problem of metal waste disposal in a safer and more sustainable way. A number of mines use STD (Submarine Tailing Disposal), so they use the bottom of the sea instead of a land-based disposal site behind dams, that run the danger of bursting, causing gigantic pollution downstream. STD is currently being practiced in the following places (Coumans 2008):
  • In Chile at the Huasco Iron Pelletising Plant operated by Compania Minera del Pacifico;

  • In Indonesia at Minahasa Raya and Batu Hijau mines both operated by Newmont Corporation;

  • In Turkey at the Cayeli Bakir Mine operated by Inmet Mining;

  • In Papua New Guinea at the Lihir Mine operated by Lihir Management Company and Rio Tinto;

  • In Papua New Guinea at the Misima Mine operated by Placer Dome;

  • In England at the Boulby Potash Mine operated by Cleveland Potash;

  • In the Philippines at the Atlas Mine operated by Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation.


Black Shale Metal Sulfide Metallurgical Slag Metal Waste Riparian Country 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank Prof. Panin from Geoecomar/Romania, Dr. Reynolds, coordinator, GEF/UNDP Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project, Istanbul, as well as Prof. Zhovinsky, Kiev and Prof. Mazur, Odessa for their interest and support. Basem Shomar/Heidelberg helped me to trace Müller’s papers containing the same idea of disposal in the Black Sea.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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