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, 7 (1), 10581

Multiple Mining Impacts Induce Widespread Changes in Ecosystem Dynamics in a Boreal Lake

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Multiple Mining Impacts Induce Widespread Changes in Ecosystem Dynamics in a Boreal Lake

Jaakko Johannes Leppänen et al. Sci Rep.

Abstract

In order to satisfy the needs of constant economic growth, the pressure to exploit natural resources has increased. Since accessible mineral resources are becoming scarce, the mining industry is constantly looking for novel techniques to allow commercial exploitation of lower-grade deposits. However, mining can have considerable impacts on freshwater ecosystems. Here, we present the ecological damage inflicted by mine water originating from the massive Terrafame Talvivaara polymetal mine (central Finland), where bioheap leaching is being applied to high-sulphur low-grade ore. We found that saline mine water has turned the lake meromictic, and sediment is heavily contaminated. As a result, important zooplankton and phytoplankton groups have been significantly altered. As the exploitation of poor-grade deposits is the future of the mining industry globally, water management should be taken to a higher level in order to proceed towards a sustainable mining sector.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Study site location and lake characteristics. (a) Lake location in central Finland, (b) catchment boundaries, Terrafame Talvivaara mine and main channels, and (c) bathymetry of Lake Kivijärvi and location of data collection sites. The data for the map was retrieved from the National Land Survey of Finland open data databank (http://www.maanmittauslaitos.fi/en/e-services/open-data-file-download-service) under the open data CC 4.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), and customized in ArcMap, Version 10.3.1 (http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/) and in Corel Draw X8, version 18.0 (http://www.coreldraw.com/en/product/graphic-design-software/).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Lake Kivijärvi’s water chemistry characteristics. Variation of Ni, Zn, Fe, sulphate (SO4 2−), Na, electrical conductivity (EC), total phosphorus (Tot P), oxygen (O2) and chlorophyll a. The y-axis indicates water sampling depth, except for chlorophyll a, where it indicates concentration. The solid vertical line indicates the beginning of mining activities, and the dashed vertical line indicates the 2012 gypsum pond accident. Detailed values and sampling dates, and concentration data regarding pH, Ca and total nitrogen (N) are available online (Supplementary Fig. 1). Data were retrieved from: http://www.syke.fi/avoindata. Data Source: Finnish Environment Institute and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Lake Kivijärvi’s sediment geochemistry. The solid horizontal line indicates the beginning of mining, and the dashed horizontal line indicates the 2012 gypsum pond accident.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Changes in sedimentary cladoceran and diatom communities. (A) Cladoceran community data presented as a principal components analysis (PCA) biplot, (B) Chronology, rarefied species richness and Shannon H′ indices, (C) diatom community data presented as a PCA biplot, and (D) Chronology, rarefied species richness and Shannon H′ indices. The solid horizontal line in (BD) indicates the beginning of the mining, and the dashed line indicates the 2012 gypsum pond accident.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Cladoceran Stratigraphy. Cladoceran stratigraphy. Only the most abundant taxa with the proportional abundance of >2% is shown. The solid horizontal line indicates the beginning of the mining, and the dashed line indicates the 2012 gypsum pond accident.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Diatom stratigraphy. Diatom stratigraphy. Only the most abundant taxa with the proportional abundance of >4% is shown.The solid horizontal line indicates the beginning of the mining, and the dashed line indicates the 2012 gypsum pond accident.

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