Mining can add dust to the atmosphere as rocks are blown apart to get at the ores. Milling and smelting can have far greater effects than mining itself – they pulverize the rock, they cook the rock to drive off unwanted materials, such as arsenic and sulfur, which can react with water in the air to create pollutants (acid rain). Smelters generally have been considerably worse for the atmosphere than mining per se, but of course it is all part of the complete package.
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