The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

» A string of min­ing BILLINGS, MONT. waste dis­as­ters — some deadly — over the past decade show bet­ter pro­tec­tions are needed for com­mu­ni­ties down­stream of mas­sive pol­luted ma­te­rial stor­age sites, ac­cord­ing to a United Na­tions re­port.

The UN En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gram re­port tal­lied 40 sig­nif­i­cant mine waste ac­ci­dents in the past decade. Most in­volved dams or other stor­age ar­eas that failed, re­leas­ing tor­rents of pol­luted wa­ter.

Among the ac­ci­dents high­lighted by the agency were a 2015 dam col­lapse at a Brazil­ian iron-ore mine that killed 19 peo­ple and the Gold King Mine dis­as­ter in the U.S. that spilled pol­lu­tion into rivers in three West­ern states.

Al­though the rate of such ac­ci­dents has been fall­ing, the re­port warned that the con­se­quences have grown more se­ri­ous as waste im­pound­ments get larger. There are an es­ti­mated 30,000 in­dus­trial mines world­wide and hun­dreds of thou­sands of aban­doned mines that spew pol­lu­tion. — The As­so­ci­ated Press

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