Impact of Mining Waste Disposal into the Sea
Submarine Tailings Disposal (commonly abbreviated as STD) is mining waste disposal or tailings to the marine environment through pipelines. STD is used as one of the solutions for mining companies to throw tailings into the sea because if tailings are dumped on land requires a large area of land and is generally vulnerable to forming harmful elements when oxidized.
The solution is also claimed that if it throws tailings to the seabed with a small oxygen content, then the tailings will tend not to be oxidized so as not to release toxic metals. In addition, the seabed environment is considered to have no abundant marine biota so it does not interfere with the surrounding ecosystem. STD is also considered a relatively cheaper solution.
However, STD can only be done if obtaining permission from the authorities in accordance with applicable regulations. Many of the world’s mining companies have good technology and knowledge about the implementation of STD, but in reality this technology remains unable to avoid the environmental impacts of the ocean, especially on bentos, plankton, and phytoplankton in the sea. Therefore, STD is prohibited in various countries such as America, Canada, and Australia. In Indonesia itself there are still several companies in the eastern region of Indonesia that conduct this STD. Until now, tailings disposal into the sea is still reaping many pros and cons from the community, companies, and the government.
In fact, either STD or land dam tailings is an activity that is expected to minimize environmental pollution if done correctly, although it will still have an impact on the environment. Therefore, in its implementation must be done proper processing so that it can meet quality standards and not pollute the environment.