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Natural cyanide degradation and impact on Ili River drainage areas from a Goldmine in Xinjiang autonomous region, China

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Courtesy of Springer

The Ili River is a very important river to the northwest of China and Kazakhstan. The Axi Goldmine is located in the upstream of a branch of the Ili River. The cyanide from the goldmine effluent is a threat to the downstream areas. According to our study, the natural degradation of cyanide conforms to a negative exponential equation in the tailings impoundment, second wastewater pond and even in the receiving streams if the dilution action from other streams were deducted. In the combined action of dilution and natural decomposing, the cyanide from the goldmine effluent does not pose a hazard to the trunk of the Ili River in the normal producing states. The equations of cyanide degradation in the streams and the hydrology parameters could be used to assess the environmental impact on the downstream areas if accidental discharges of cyanide occurred. The available way of decreasing the cyanide impact on the streams is to increase the rate of recycled water so that the lower the wastewater level in the tailing impoundment and the second wastewater pond, the lower is the amount of leakage of wastewater to the streams.

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