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September 8, 2022

Title: Environmental Health Program's Minerals Integrated Science Team:  Contaminant Fate and Effects Associated with the Lifecycle of Mineral Resources

Date: September 16th at 2:00 pm Eastern

Speaker: Katie Walton-Day, Ph.D., Research Hydrologist, USGS Colorado Water Science Center

Sunset
Sunset at the uranium mines at the Grand Canyon, AZ. 

Summary: The Ecosystems Mission Area / Environmental Health Minerals Integrated Science Team conducts research to understand environmental effects and inform best management practices arising from extraction of economic and critical minerals. Multiple phases of the mineral extraction life cycle including mining, waste production and storage, transportation, ore storage, and recycling of materials are perceived to or actually do create environmental hazards from contaminant exposures. The project includes research into the geochemistry, hydrology, and biological effects of metals and radionuclides introduced into the environment in abandoned and active mines including

in the Grand Canyon region. New (FY22) objectives include investigating effects of multiple metals on biologic receptors, identifying data gaps and initiating research on the environmental effects of extraction of critical minerals, and researching the potentially cascading hazards of multiple stressors, such as fire and drought on metals introduced into the environment through mineral resource activity.  A recently completed objective produced a geoenvironmental assessment of the potential environmental effects of mining uranium in the Texas Gulf Coast as a companion product to the uranium resource assessment in that area. Finally, the project is developing non-technical products to communicate USGS science to a broader audience than possible through scientific publications. This presentation will provide an overview of all project activities and summaries of the most recent research. 

 

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