CONSIDERATIONS ON THE MANAGEMENT OF LEAKS AND SPILLS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

In mining, there is an important and constant element of risk with hazardous materials, both in the hydrometallurgical and blasting processes, as well as in the supply chain (including warehouses in transit and mine warehouses), as well as the logistics of exit from both mineral concentrates (typified legally in Peru as hazardous material) as hazardous waste.

 

They are not all equal in risk, considering the corresponding class (United Nations), the volumes, the types of packaging, the additional containment elements, the chemical compatibility and incompatibilities, and the plant processes or operations in which they are involved.

In addition, the risk of impact on the environment (especially farmland, livestock pastures, water tables, streams and bodies of water) must be considered, and towards people and communities in areas of influence of the operation as well as in the transit routes in inbound or outbound transport.

In the event of an event, a leak and spill typification table is proposed for a better evaluation of the occurrence, its risks to the environment and the control measures to be implemented.

Some considerations:

  • It is much more manageable to control solids than liquids. In the case of gases, vapors and mists, it will be possible to try to control the point of the leak or emission, but it will not be possible to recover the element already escaped into the atmosphere.
  • The liquid will flow towards the lowest point of the terrain (reference to ground slope).
  • In liquids, the composition and compaction of the soil may or may not facilitate percolation.
  • If the product dissolves with water, it can not be recovered at all in spills in running water, being the only action to monitor the dilution of the product (example: H2SO4, NaCN, H2O2), being counterproductive to add neutralizing chemicals to the product. Water. On the contrary, if the product does not dissolve with water and floats, protocols for recovery should be implemented (example: hydrocarbons, petroleum).
  • If the product reacts with water and generates gases, vapors or mists (or if it is highly volatile) we must consider the atmospheric risk that is generated.
  • In the case of gases, vapors and mists, we will consider the space due to the accumulation and subsequent dispersion in the atmosphere. If the element is heavier than air (example: GLP, Cl2), we should also consider the slope of the ground since there will be accumulation in the lowest part of the terrain or space. If it is lighter than air, it will rise and then dissipate into the atmosphere (example: HCN, NGV).

The table was developed to verify compliance with the CYANIDE CODE for emergency response (considering sodium cyanide as solid, cyanide solutions as liquid and hydrogen cyanide emissions by decomposition as gas). It is proposed as an analysis tool to be considered in the development of emergency response plans and protocols with hazardous materials in general. It may complement the use of MSDSs, sources of additional technical information (such as the NIOSH Guide), or software for modeling both environmental dispersion or chemical reactions in case of product mixing or contact with water (such as NOAA Chemical Reactivity Worksheet).

Source:

http://www.revistaseguridadminera.com/materiales-peligrosos/gestion-de-fugas-y-derrames-de-materiales-peligrosos/

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