The University of Arizona’s (UA) Dean Carter Binational Center for Environmental Health Sciences (Binational Center) hosted its fifth Specialized Workshop entitled: “Health Effects and Remediation of Mine Tailings”, June 4-6, 2007 at the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi (UASLP) in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The workshop was organized in close collaboration with binational partner Dr. Fernando Diaz-Barriga, Environmental Toxicologist from the UASLP. Approximately 105 participants attended this workshop consisting of graduate students, environmental professionals, and university faculty interested in bioremediation of mine tailings and the impact of heavy metals on communities living adjacent to mining areas.
The specific workshop sessions were:
- Case Study: Villa de la Paz - Dr. Marcos Monroy, UASLP - Centro de Estudios, Asesoria y Servicios en Sistemas Ambientales(CEASSA)
- Phytostabilization of Mine Tailings in Arid and Semi-Arid Environments - Dr. Raina Maier, UA
- Epidemiology - Dr. Lizbeth Lopez, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica
- Arsenic - Mariano Cebrián, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados
- Metal Biomarkers - Walt Klimecki, UA
- Biological Cycle of Sulfur and its Applications in the Mining Industry - Berenice Celis, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnología
- Elimination of Heavy Metals and Sulfur via a Permeable Reactive Barrier that Contains Zero Valence Iron - James A. Field, UA
- Mexican International Agreements in Chemical and Hazardous Materials - Mario Yarto, Instituto Nacional de Ecología–SEMARNAT
As part of the workshop, participants were given a tour of Villa de la Paz where homes and schools reside on mine tailings. The UASLP research team from CEASSA, led the tour presenting the diverse activities they have accompished. Specifically, this research group is characterizing the mine tailings at Villa de la Paz and educating the communities and schools on how they can reduce their heavy metal exposure. The field trip ended at Real de Catorce, an abandoned mining area and sacred land to the Wixáritari (Huichol). A doctoral student from UASLP presented his dissertation project in which he is working with this community to preserve sacred land as well as native traditions. The workshop closed with four UASLP graduate student presentations on topics ranging from treatment of acid mine drainage to community health indicators.