Environmental impact assessment of cathode copper factory establishment using flash furnace method in Sungun copper complex

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran


In order to reduce environmental hazards, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a legal requirement for the construction of metal processing and production factories. The purpose of this study was to assess the environmental impacts of the establishment of Sungun cathode copper factory using flash furnace method and also its compatibility with the environment was studied in this research. Civil part of the factory is under construction in the north of East Azarbaijan Province and is adjacent to Sungun copper mine. The location of the project site is in the vicinity of the Arasbaran Protected Area and is therefore important in terms of environmental impact in the area.
Material and methods:
In this study, at first library studies were carried out and then, data and information on environmental impact assessment were collected by relevant experts, and eventually the Iranian version of the Leopold Matrix (modified Leopold) was selected as the evaluation method. Next, activities during the construction phase and environmental parameters in each of the physical, biological, and socio-economic and cultural aspects of the project were determined. Then, project activities and environmental parameters were placed in columns and rows of the matrix, respectively. This matrix was bearing cells containing two values of amplitude and magnitude of the impact. The numeric value for amplitude was 1-5 and for magnitud was 5+ to 5. With the production of two amplitude and magnitude, the final score was obtained for each cell with positive or negative scores. The mean scores for each row and column of the matrix were calculated, based on which conclusions were made for the matrix.
Results and discussion:
To decide on this matrix, there were five modes including confirmation or rejection of the project, confirmation only with correction options, confirmation only with refinement options, and approvals with both options. The results of the evaluations showed that in the control mode (without any environmental modifications), the average environmental impact classification in less than 50% of cases was less than -3.1 in both rows and columns. In two modes of relative and full environmental correction cases, the average ranking in 50% of the cases and only in rows was less than -3.1. In the main mode, the project was placed in the "Provision of Improvement Plans and Corrective Options" category, indicating that it is impossible to implement a copper cathode project without controlling environmental impacts. In the next step, validity of the project in two modes of relative modification and complete correction of environmental impacts was re-examined. In re-calculations of relative control of environmental impacts, the negative scores of pararmeters that led to the production of gas, waste and hazardous wastewater were not adjusted and remained negative.
Environmental assessment of the construction of a cathode copper processing plant using Flash Furnace was rejected because of the large volume of contamination even after two environmental reforms. Therefore we propose that, the athouriteis of the factory examin the possibility of other methods to produce cathode copper including hydromeatalurogic methods and a new introduced technology named SKS.


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