Lessons of Goseong Abandoned Metal Mine Accident

고성 폐금속 광산 오염 사건의 교훈

  • Received : 2011.10.11
  • Accepted : 2011.10.22
  • Published : 2011.10.31


The Goseong abandoned mine accident was a typical case of long-term sequela resulting from environmental disruption during the rapid economic development of Korea. While the final conclusion of epidemiologic investigation was that residents surrounding the abandoned mine were simply exposed to cadmium from the abandoned mine without any patient contracting 'itai-itai' disease, not only did residents around the abandoned mine suffer enormous psychological and economic damage, but people in neighbouring communities did as well when the entire area was stigmatized as an contaminated area. Environmental civic groups and the government worked together to solve the problem by forming a joint committee which held the right of decision in any matter to be determined. By inviting all the stakeholders to participate in the joint committee, a transparent investigation was guaranteed and the results of investigation and recommendations to solve the problem were accepted by all involved. Even though the environmental health division in Ministry of Environment has developed considerably and built up a capacity to deal with environmental accidents, the process which was adopted to solving the Goseong abandoned mine accident can be useful to settle environmental health issues with severe conflicts among stakeholders.


Abandoned metal mine;Cadmium;Investigation;Stakeholders


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