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A chemical company plans to dig a small mine on local farmland and then build a...

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jasma82 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:48 PM via web

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A chemical company plans to dig a small mine on local farmland and then build a chemical plant to extract the metal nickel from its ore.

Write a letter to the local paper to explain why you don't want this to happen.

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ncchemist | eNotes Employee

Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:06 PM (Answer #1)

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There are several reasons why you would not want a nickel mine and extraction plant in your area.  The mine will produce much dirt and excavated material that will need to be disposed of, most likely in large piles near the mine.  Nickel actually requires extensive processing at high temperatures because it must be separated from iron, copper, and other trace metals from the ore.  This requires high temperatures which will mean tall smokestacks to handle the ventilation of the fumes and heat.  It will also mean extensive energy use to maintain these high temperatures.  Last but not least, nickel purification is usually performed by either the Sherrit-Gordon process or the Mond process.  The former uses hydrogen sulfide gas and the latter uses carbon monoxide gas.  Hydrogen sulfide is toxic, corrosive, and smells like rotten eggs.  Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless but is a very dangerous asphyxiant that can cause death by blocking out oxygen from the bloodstream.  If either of these gasses escaped into the atmosphere the results for the local population could be catastrophic.

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