Blacksmith Institute: Mining and Ore Processing - Mercury Pollution
Mining and ore processing occurs throughout the world and consists of extracting minerals, metals, and gems from surrounding earth and ore. Industrial mines vary in size, with some being quite small operations and others very large. Many large-scale mines also have ore processing facilities where extracted ore is sent for crushing, washing, and various physical or chemical separation processes. Not all mined materials are dangerous, but many heavy metals and naturally radioactive materials that are removed from the earth can be very hazardous to human health.
In addition to active mines, there are a large number of inactive and abandoned mining sites throughout the world that still contain large levels of contaminants and pose dangers to local communities.