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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Cynaide Dumps


The gold mining process at the KGF mines has generated about 32 million tons of tailings called Cyanide Dumps. These dumps are the accumulation of the slurry waste and residue that was piped out of the mills, after the gold was extracted from the ore. The residue slowly hardened over time and formed huge hills around all the mines in KGF of soft fine dust. They were known as the Cyanide Dumps because of the cyanide content that was used in the process of gold extraction. The Mines used a special technique for gold processing that involved dissolution of gold in the ore by water soluble alkali metal cyanides such as sodium cyanide or potassium cyanide. The gold ore was first crushed and agglomerated in the mill and then dissolved in the cyanide solutions in order to recover the gold. This process was known as Gold smelting and the chemicals would give out a bad odour whenever the smelting process was done. The whole of KGF would stink on smelting day!!! Due to the continuous mining activity of over a century and the regular pumping of the slurry waste, these cyanide dumps occupy almost 20% of the total area of KGF. The dumps have hardened over the years and look like hills all around the place, some of them more than 30 metres in height. These Cyanide Dumps that have been deposited here since inception of mines have now become a tourist attraction and are used as a film location for shooting dance sequences of many regional language films. However, they are still an environmental hazard even today. Many people suffer from respiratory related diseases such as Asthma, Wheezing etc because of the fine dust from these dumps.

2 comments:

petermollan said...

I can also remember these dumps vividly, becasue we use to go and play on them regularly.

These dumps were not far from where we lived in Nundydroog Mines

Peter Mollan, Yor, ENgland

Shane Vijay said...

K.G.F is my favorite place because i enjoyed there very much right from my small age !!