British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Selenium monitoring and management : new mines Chapman, Peter M.


Selenium is a contaminant of particular concern for coal, phosphate, uranium and some precious and base metal mines. Regulators require reasonable assurances that environmental risks will be detected and ameliorated. Proponents require reasonable assurances regarding potential future liabilities. Provision of such assurances requires: identification of receptors of potential concern (for monitoring and investigative studies); generic and specific guiding principles; a three-tiered strategy (potential risk of impact? → realistic risk of impact? → any necessary management actions?); and, adaptive management. Primary levels of protection should be based on both appropriate whole body tissue (not water) guidelines (the present BC interim tissue guideline value does not appear to be appropriate), and background data (which can be naturally elevated). Background data should be used, where appropriate, as site-specific initial guidelines within the tiered strategy.

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