Each type of tailing, whether radioactive or sulphide based, present a significant threat to its surround environment when extracted. For example, some precious metals exist in sulphide compounds that may never become extracted in the mining process. When these tailing develop those sulphide compounds may break down and release toxic metals into the surrounding water and soil. A real world example is the zinc smelting sites in Palmerton, PA where facotires not only stripped the land of trees and soil but also damage the health of the townspeople from metal toxicity.
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