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Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Overview of attention for book
Attention for Chapter 2: Cyanide hazards to plants and animals from gold mining and related water issues.
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#12 of 167)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
18 tweeters
3 Facebook pages
1 video uploader


3 Dimensions

Readers on

227 Mendeley
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Chapter title
Cyanide hazards to plants and animals from gold mining and related water issues.
Chapter number 2
Book title
Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Published in
Reviews of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology, September 2004
DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-9100-3_2
Pubmed ID
Book ISBNs
978-1-4612-6494-1, 978-1-4419-9100-3

Eisler R, Wiemeyer SN, Ronald Eisler, Stanley N. Wiemeyer, Eisler, Ronald, Wiemeyer, Stanley N.


Cyanide extraction of gold through milling of high-grade ores and heap leaching of low-grade ores requires cycling of millions of liters of alkaline water containing high concentrations of potentially toxic sodium cyanide (NaCN), free cyanide, and metal-cyanide complexes. Some milling operations result in tailings ponds of 150 ha and larger. Heap leach operations that spray or drip cyanide onto the flattened top of the ore heap require solution processing ponds of about 1 ha in surface area. Puddles of various sizes may occur on the top of heaps, where the highest concentrations of NaCN are found. Solution recovery channels are usually constructed at the base of leach heaps, some of which may be exposed. All these cyanide-containing water bodies are hazardous to wildlife, especially migratory waterfowl and bats, if not properly managed. Accidental spills of cyanide solutions into rivers and streams have produced massive kills of fish and other aquatic biota. Freshwater fish are the most cyanide-sensitive group of aquatic organisms tested, with high mortality documented at free cyanide concentrations >20 microg/L and adverse effects on swimming and reproduction at >5 microg/L. Exclusion from cyanide solutions or reductions of cyanide concentrations to nontoxic levels are the only certain methods of protecting terrestrial vertebrate wildlife from cyanide poisoning; a variety of exclusion/cyanide reduction techniques are presented and discussed. Additional research is recommended on (1) effects of low-level, long-term, cyanide intoxication in birds and mammals by oral and inhalation routes in the vicinity of high cyanide concentrations; (2) long-term effects of low concentrations of cyanide on aquatic biota; (3) adaptive resistance to cyanide; and (4) usefulness of various biochemical indicators of cyanide poisoning. To prevent flooding in mine open pits, and to enable earth moving on a large scale, it is often necessary to withdraw groundwater and use it for irrigation, discharge it to rapid infiltration basins, or, in some cases, discharge it to surface waters. Surface waters are diverted around surface mining operations. Adverse effects of groundwater drawdown include formation of sinkholes within 5 km of groundwater drawdown; reduced stream flows with reduced quantities of wate available for irrigation, stock watering, and domestic, mining and milling, and municipal uses; reduction or loss of vegetation cover for wildlife, with reduced carrying capacity for terrestrial wildlife; loss of aquatic habitat for native fishes and their prey; and disruption of Native American cultural traditions. Surface discharge of excess mine dewatering water and other waters to main waterways may contain excess quantities of arsenic, total dissolved solids, boron, copper, fluoride, and zinc. When mining operations cease, and the water pumps are dismantled, these large open pits may slowly fill with water, forming lakes. The water quality of pit lakes may present a variety of pressing environmental problems.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 18 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 227 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Colombia 3 1%
South Africa 3 1%
Ghana 1 <1%
India 1 <1%
Mexico 1 <1%
Puerto Rico 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Unknown 216 95%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 49 22%
Student > Master 43 19%
Researcher 27 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 27 12%
Student > Postgraduate 11 5%
Other 23 10%
Unknown 47 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 57 25%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 28 12%
Engineering 28 12%
Chemistry 13 6%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 9 4%
Other 37 16%
Unknown 55 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 26. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 05 June 2022.
All research outputs
of 22,283,583 outputs
Outputs from Reviews of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology
of 167 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 175,122 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Reviews of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,283,583 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 167 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 9.2. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 175,122 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them