Mine Water Hydrogeology and Geochemistry

Edited by P.L. Younger & N.S. Robins: Published by The Geological Society as Geological Society Special Publication: SP 198: Publication date: 2002: ISBN: 1- 86239- 113-0 List price: 85.00 (GSL member price 42.50)

Mining was once an important industry in the UK and provided the raw materials that sustained the growth of British industry through the industrial revolution to relatively recent years. Mining no longer has the significance to the British economy it once had. However, it has left its legacy in terms of the voids and drainage systems created, the spoil heaps left at the surface and the effects of subsidence on the strata that overlie the workings. All these aspects have a potential environmental impact that often affects groundwater or, in the case of surface water pollution, tends to reach the surface through groundwater flow.

This book comprises a collection of 26 papers on this specialized aspect of hydrogeology and provides an excellent source of case-history information. Only one paper covers the way in which groundwater affects mining with the example described being a copper mine in Chile. The other papers are concerned in one way or another with the impacts that mining and mining related activities have on groundwater systems and cause environmental pollution, or describe techniques used to assess these effects. The papers cover examples in the UK, the USA, South America, Africa, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Slovakia and includes mining for coal, uranium and a wide range of metals.

Not all the impacts caused by mining are detrimental. The book includes an interesting description of the effects of longwall mining on overlying aquifers in Pennsylvania that include enhanced conductivities resulting from subsidence that may increase the efficiency of wells in the affected zone. Similar effects have undoubtedly occurred in the UK although there is scant information in the literature.

I can recommend this book for a number of reasons. The case histories cover a wide range of subjects and include a lot of data in terms of tables and diagrams. The standard of the scientific content is high and the quality of the production is very good. I am confident that this collection of papers will be of value to hydrogeologists and others working on projects involving mining or assessing the impacts that mining activities have caused.

This review appeared in Geoscientist October 2003, Volume 13, No 10, page 19.

Copyright © Geological Society 2003

Eur Geol Eur Ing Professor F.C. Brassington BSc MSc CGeol FGS CEng MICE FCIWEM