Multiple lines of evidence in assessing ecotoxicological and human health risks of mine effluents and public perception - MINEVIEW
Financier: Academy of Finland
Project leader: prof. Jussi Kukkonen
Project research coordinator: Senior researcher Anna Karjalainen
Consortium partners: University of Eastern Finland, LYY-institute; ; Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre and Laboratory Centre
National collaboration: University of Jyväskylä, Department of Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry; University of Jyväskylä, Department of Mathematical Information Technology, Spectral imaging
International collaboration: Trent University, Trent Water Quality Centre
Metal mining industry in Finland has expanded in recent decades. Ecotoxicological and human health risks are associated with release of treated and untreated process waters, mine drainage water, treatment of ore, formation of mine tailings and their storage, and alterations in microbiology. Metals in complexes with natural organic material do not pose immediate threat as they are less bioavailable than dissolved metals. Their presence may lead to mobilization of metals in the long run, since the binding to organic material is reversible. Chemical pollution and changes in microbial community structure can cause both direct and indirect threats to ecosystems and human health. We aim to clarify the ecotoxicological effects of metal and organic material loads to downstream water bodies, the transport mechanisms and fate, the causes and potential risks of changes in microbiology, and to evaluate the long-term environmental impacts to aquatic ecosystems and human health. Transport and fate of metals will be simulated dynamically in the typically complex river-lake netwoks. Risk perception by the local people due to alteration of the receiving water bodies will be assessed to boost value judgments in the forthcoming impact assessments of new mining claims. Cost-effective and real-time tools and means for precise assessment will be validated, piloted and run in. The final risk assessment yields directly applicable information and models needed in ecotoxicological and human health risk assessments and management of both open pitch and deep drilling ore mining activities.