Mine Waters & Effluents, Part 2 – Typical Contaminants

Mine waters and effluents contain a wide array of contaminants, depending on the source of the water and the composition of surrounding earth and rocks.

A site’s mine water is analogous to a fingerprint, with factors such as ore type, groundwater composition, mineral refining and rainfall all contributing to the composition of the water.

Mine water at “The Big Hole”: Historical Diamond Mine in South Africa. Source: Wikimedia Commons

As such, no two mine waters are identical – and a tailored water treatment solution is required for each site.

While some mining effluents are highly contaminated with toxic metals and acidity, others can remain relatively clean and only require minimal treatment.

Professional water laboratories are used to analyse the contaminants within mine waters and effluents.

The following table shows a list of typical mine water contaminants:

Sulphates and acidity are common mine water contaminants, detected in waters that have contacted earth and rocks containing sulphide minerals.