This paper analyses the importance and environmental impacts of metallic small-scale mining in Chile. This sector is characterized by the exploitation of primarily artisanal copper (Cu), gold (Au), and silver (Ag) deposits, which are dispersed throughout (Chilean) Regions I through VI, with heaviest concentrations in Regions III and IV. In 2000, Chilean small-scale mines employed some 1700 workers (5.1% of total mining workers), and plants with a production capacity of less than 50 tpd accounted for 0.97% (44,603 t) of Cu; 6.5% (3,484) of Au; and 1.1% (13,665 kg) of Ag output in the country. High-grade ore extraction, flotation, gravity concentration, acid leaching-cementation, and mercury amalgamation, are the main metallurgical technologies employed. Following an overview of Chilean small-scale mining, the paper examines the environmental impacts of its production processes, and discusses the legal support and regulatory framework in place for operations.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Energías renovables, sostenibilidad y medio ambiente
- Ciencias ambientales (todo)
- Estrategia y gestión
- Ingeniería industrial y de fabricación