UNR Researcher to Study Mercury at Mines

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A researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno has been awarded a 250,000 dollar contract from the state to study mercury emissions from mining waste.

Mae Gustin is an associate professor of natural resources and
environmental sciences at U-N-R. Her new two-year contract with the
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection will involve a partnership with another researcher at the University of Michigan.

NDEP Administrator Leo Drozdoff says mercury emissions from mine waste rock, heap leach pads and tailings have been the subject of much speculation and concern in recent years. He says the research will help provide sound scientific data to help answer questions about the environmental impacts.

Gustin says part of the purpose is to develop a dataset of mercury concentrations in the air near hardrock mines. She says the research will help determine to what extent areas disturbed by mining are responsible for high levels of mercury compared to naturally occurring concentrations.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)