COAL MINING AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ACID MINE DRAINAGE (AMD): A REVIEW
Keywords:Coal, Mining, Environmental, AMD
In spite of the growing global initiatives towards achieving clean energy, coal remains a dominant source of electricity generation, a fuel for iron and steel production, an important entity among road construction materials and a commodity for foreign exchange earnings for many nations. Coal mining from old and active sites remains a source of an environmental problem described as acid mine drainage (AMD). AMD is produced when sulfide present in waste rocks or tailings in coal mines reacts with air and water in a microbes facilitated oxidation to form solutions with high acidity. The acids formed by these chemical and biological conditions further release heavy metals present in the host rock in concentrations higher than are acceptable by environmental standards (pb;0.01, Zn;5, Cu;2, Fe;0.3 mg/l as prescribed by WHO and Encyclopedia of Environmental Science,2000) such that soils, surface and underground waters are contaminated. Consequently, the human population which derives her livelihood in the mine zones, in form of crop production and fishing/modern aquaculture is endangered by terminal health diseases. This article aims at bringing forth, the urgent need to work towards achieving goal six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 (SDGs-6) which is clean water and sanitation while enriching the knowledge repository of the environmental problem for the purpose of teaching, research, community services and policy making. An overview of AMD menace, variables which influence its formation, selected areas that have been impacted, and a brief analysis of its treatment cost have been discussed with a list of concluding remarks in the paper.
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