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All types of mining have the potential to directly disrupt groundwater hydrology, which in turn can affect surface waters that are in hydraulic continuity with the affected groundwater systems (ERMITE-Consortium et al., 2004). This is mainly due to dewatering resulting in a depression of the water table around the dewatered zone.

The water quality of mining activities is mainly affected by acidification or salinization. The acid runoff further dissolves heavy metals such as copper, lead, mercury into groundwater or surface water. Problems that can be associated with mine drainage include iron hydroxide precipitation during oxygenation of mining water, contaminated drinking water (e.g. with metals or sulphate), impacts on aquatic plants and animals, or the corroding effects of the acid on parts of infrastructures ([1]). Salinization is caused by the extraction of salts, e.g. potassium. High salt content altered aquatic communities and salt intrusion into the groundwater can endanger the quality of drinking water.

[1] Source:; 14.05.2019

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