University of Oulu

Navid Yaraghi, Anna-Kaisa Ronkanen, Ali Torabi Haghighi, Mahdi Aminikhah, Katharina Kujala, Bjørn Kløve, Impacts of gold mine effluent on water quality in a pristine sub-Arctic river, Journal of Hydrology, Volume 589, 2020, 125170, ISSN 0022-1694,

Impacts of gold mine effluent on water quality in a pristine sub-Arctic river

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Author: Yaraghi, Navid1; Ronkanen, Anna-Kaisa1; Torabi Haghighi, Ali1;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland
2Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-10-20


Impacts of mining on water quality are a great concern in the Arctic region. This study evaluated the impact of pre-treated mine effluent on river water quality. The study was conducted along the Seurujoki River in sub-Arctic Finland, which is impacted by Kittilä gold mine. The study analyzed water quality and hydrological data upstream and downstream of the mining area over an eight-year period, including a tailing dam leakage event in 2015. The analysis focused on water quality determinants such as electrical conductivity (EC), sulfate, antimony, manganese, and total nitrogen (Ntotal). Descriptive statistics on river water at four stations along the river corridor showed negative impacts of mining activities on the recipient water body. In order to find an indicator for water quality, correlation analysis between the water quality determinants was carried out. It identified EC as a good indicator for continuous water quality monitoring, especially to detect mining accidents such as partial failure of a tailings dam. The results showed increasing contaminant concentrations due to mining as more mine effluent was generated over time. A linear mixed model was developed to predict the coefficient of different elements affecting EC at river water monitoring stations impacted by mining effluents. The results provide new information on how to assess mining water impacts and plan future water quality monitoring.

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Series: Journal of hydrology
ISSN: 0022-1694
ISSN-E: 1879-2707
ISSN-L: 0022-1694
Volume: 589
Article number: 125170
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.125170
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This research was partly supported by Maa- ja Vesitekniikan tuki r.y. and OLVI-säätiö (201920141).
Copyright information: © 2020. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license