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Article

Disproportionate Water Quality Impacts from the Century-Old Nautanen Copper Mines, Northern Sweden

1
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Faculty of Geography, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University Leninskie Gory 1, 119991 Moscow, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041394
Received: 23 January 2020 / Revised: 7 February 2020 / Accepted: 11 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
Pollution from small historical mining sites is usually overlooked, in contrast to larger ones. Especially in the Arctic, knowledge gaps remain regarding the long-term mine waste impacts, such as metal leakage, on water quality. We study the small copper (Cu) mines of Nautanen, northern Sweden, which had been in operation for only six years when abandoned approximately 110 years ago in 1908. Measurements from field campaigns in 2017 are compared to synthesized historical measurement data from 1993 to 2014, and our results show that concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Cd on-site as well as downstream from the mining site are order(s) of magnitude higher than the local background values. This is despite the small scale of the Nautanen mining site, the short duration of operation, and the long time since closure. Considering the small amount of waste produced at Nautanen, the metal loads from Nautanen are still surprisingly high compared to the metal loads from larger mines. We argue that disproportionately large amounts of metals may be added to surface water systems from the numerous small abandoned mining sites. Such pollution loads need to be accounted for in sustainable assessments of total pollutant pressures in the relatively vulnerable Arctic environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: abandoned mines; mine waste; metal mass flows; Arctic abandoned mines; mine waste; metal mass flows; Arctic
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fischer, S.; Rosqvist, G.; Chalov, S.R.; Jarsjö, J. Disproportionate Water Quality Impacts from the Century-Old Nautanen Copper Mines, Northern Sweden. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1394. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041394

AMA Style

Fischer S, Rosqvist G, Chalov SR, Jarsjö J. Disproportionate Water Quality Impacts from the Century-Old Nautanen Copper Mines, Northern Sweden. Sustainability. 2020; 12(4):1394. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041394

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fischer, Sandra, Gunhild Rosqvist, Sergey R. Chalov, and Jerker Jarsjö. 2020. "Disproportionate Water Quality Impacts from the Century-Old Nautanen Copper Mines, Northern Sweden" Sustainability 12, no. 4: 1394. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041394

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