By Virginia T McLemore; Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (U.S.)

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Acid drainage in some areas can result from exposed outcrops of sulfide-bearing rock. Historically, prospectors sampled at the surface and panned in streams to identify a potential area for continued exploration. Once a prospective area was identified, the prospector would dig pits, shafts, or adits to test the mineral occurrence and determine the grade and extent of the deposit. Many areas today contain numerous prospect or exploration pits, shafts, or adits that never yielded any mineral production and were not reclaimed.

The type of metallurgical processing required depends on the mineralogy of the ore and the metals to be recovered and sold. Extractive metallurgy techniques are summarized by Biswas and Davenport (1992), Gilchrist (1989), Lewis (1983), Mackey and Prengaman (1990), Gill (1991), Leonard and Hardinge (1991), Marsden and House (2006), and Wills (1992). Following excavation from the host rock, ores are sometimes crushed and ground to sandsized particles (more or less) to help segregate ore minerals from gangue minerals for further © 2008 by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.

Exploration facilities, which commonly involved construction of pits, shafts, and adits that were not necessarily utilized in ore production, were often left abandoned and unreclaimed. ) generally were built near the production or haul shaft or portals to minimize haulage without consideration or knowledge of eventual erosion, water quality problems, and ecological restoration. Processing wastes were often dumped near the processing unit, in many places into local drainages, without reusing the processing water © 2008 by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.

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