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Tools for the integrated management of mining areas and river basins

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Abstract

The project had three objectives: Objective 1 To produce cost-effective tools for the evaluation of metals’ stocks and their mineralogical forms in tailing dams, Objective 2 To produce effective tools for the remediation of tailing dams, Objective 3 To develop innovative environmental services for the design of coupled monitoring systems and coupled environmental management plans in contaminated river basins. The economic partner studied the potential of the tailing dams for extracting Au and Ag. The measured concentrations, the horizontal and vertical heterogeneity, as well as the small volumes do not recommend the studied tailing dams for economic use at the current market prices and available technologies. No geophysical measure was correlated with the total concentration in the tailing materials, but the electrical resistivity was correlated with conductivity and pH, allowing production of a 3D distribution of these variables controlling the mobility of metals. The field vegetation study pointed out the natural patterns of vegetation colonization on the tailing dam, while the pot and field experiment allowed the identification of an economically appropriate method for accelerating the succession in areas with no vegetation. Within objective 3 results showed that the main problems related to phreatic water influenced by AMD are related rather to the pollution with N and P from traditional households, the contamination with metals being secondary in the studied catchment. The floodplain functioned as an important trap for contaminated sediments, with the intensity of retention controlled by longitudinal geomorphological profile and the later distribution controlled by local geomorphology and the vegetation cover. A detailed organizational analysis of the companies and stakeholders was performed and recommendations for improving the environmental management system and the cooperation in projects aiming at controlling the effects of negative externalities.
Introduction
TIMMAR was designed to be an interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary project aiming at producing
innovative environmental services and ecotechnologies. An estimated environmental services market for
risk assessment and mitigation/restoration of mining areas is about 1 billion Euros for Romania, and at
least one order of magnitude larger in Europe. In this context, our goal in this project was to produce
innovative environmental services and ecotechnologies for the quantification and management of the
environmental externalities due to a major category of contaminated areas tailing dams. The
innovative environmental services aimed at in the project are: S1 Cost-effective evaluation of metals’
stocks and their mineralogical forms in tailing dams, S2 Prediction of distribution of pollution hot-spots in
the floodplain groundwater in contaminated river basins, S3 Prediction of the distribution of pollution hot-
spots relevant for human and species health in the floodplain soil in contaminated river basins, S4
Optimization of the monitoring systems downstream mining areas, S5 Assistance for the integration of
organizational environmental management plans based on negative and positive externalities between
multiple stakeholders in contaminated river basins. The innovative technology is: Remediation eco-
technology based on a combination of native plant species, bacterial inoculum and fungal inoculum and
subsurface methods in function of geochemical, geomophological and ecological setting. (figure 1).
Tools for the integrated management of mining areas and river basins
Neagoe A.a, Bandrabur G.b, Onete M.c, Jianu D.a, Orza R.a, Iordache V.a
a University of Bucharest, Romania, Faculty of Biology and Faculty of Geology and Geophysics, b S. C.
Prospecțiuni S. A., c Bucharest Institute of Biology, Romanian Academy, auroradaniela.neagoe@g.unibuc.ro
Figure 1. Conceptual framework for transactions including
ecosystem services in a socio-ecological system (Brouwer et al.
2011). In the case of disservices the polluter pays principle applies
and the provider of disservices pays the stakeholders from
downstream. Both situations can apply to companies working in
mining areas.
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the 98/2014 partnership project TIMMAR PN II PCCA.
Figure 2. Four studied catchments and tailing dams were
considered in the project. In the implementation phase we limited
to two areas, Certej-Mealu and Brăzeşti (down images).
The project objectives
The project had three objectives: Objective 1 To produce cost-effective tools for the evaluation of metals’
stocks and their mineralogical forms in tailing dams, Objective 2 To produce effective tools for the
remediation of tailing dams, Objective 3 To develop innovative environmental services for the design of
coupled monitoring systems and coupled environmental management plans in contaminated river basins.
The economic partner studied the potential of the tailing dams for extracting Au and Ag
Management of the project
It was adopted a simplifying strategy:
- A decrease the study areas from 4 to 2 (figure 2).
-The research was focused on the remediation eco-technology and the first service,
-It were initiated the activities for the services linking the mining organizations producing negative
externalities and the receptors of negative externalities located at distance, in the river basin.
Figure 3 General scheme of the structure of innovation ecosystem
(Tsujimoto şi colab. 2017) for greening the mining industry by actions
within the organizations and on their relation with the receptors of negative
externalities.
Figure 4 Combination between (social) Life Cycle Analyses, multi-
criteria decision analysis and mathematical programming for the
sustainability of mining performance (Pimentel et al. 2016)
Results
General structure of an innovation ecosystem in mining areas
The remediation eco-technology and the S1 service had as end-users single (mining) organizations. The
delivery of such technologies and services has to be adapted to the maturity level of the environmental
management system of the organization.
In the case of S2-S5 services, which are all related to the effects at distance of the mining industry
negative externalities, their development and delivery can work in most real socio-economic situations only
in the presence of third type organizations with performing the function of transaction costs decrease by
delivering knowledge (mathematical models) about the coupled processes behind the negative
externalities, and know how about the design of the monitoring system needed for the running the models.
Beyond these basic functions the role of the consulting companies will depend also on the maturity of the
environmental management system of the private and institutional clients. Figure 3 sums up these
elements. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of mining project, including the internalization of negative externalities
in the costs of the project is currently used in a form integrated with other methods (figure 4).
Figure 5 The dynamic of the indicators used for assessing the maturity of
the environmental management system and the control of negative
externalities in an organization (Ormazabal et al. 2017
Figure 6 Developmental scenarios for a socio-ecological system including
four Romanian counties in central Transylvania (Nieto-Romero et al. 2016).
The evaluation of the stocks and
mobility of metals in tailing dams
Figure 7 The distribution of Ag and
Cu in the substrate of Brăzeşti
tailing dam (up) and ternary map of
Pb-Cu-Zn.
Figure 8 The distribution of Ag and
Cu in the substrate of Valea Mealu
tailing dam (up) and ternary map of
Pb-Cu-Zn.
Figure 9 Location of geoelectric profiles correlated with
geochemical sampling points.
Figure 10 Example of tomographic electric resistivity profile and
mapping of pH using equations derived from empirical
measurement and theoretical assumptions.
Figure 11 Microscopic images of the taling material (NII , N+).
Figure 11 Substrate, vegetation and invertebrates sampling
design on Valea Mealu tailing dam. The down-left plot was
chosen for the field experiment.
Figure 16 PCA biplot with sampling stations and plant species using
factors 1 and 2.
Figure 12 Relation between the cumulated surface of all branches
at the breast height and the age of the tree estimated from tree
rings (Valea Mealu tailing dam, Certeju de Sus). The large
heterogeneity indicates substrates controlled eco-physiological
differences and management differences (occasional cutting of the
main trunk leading to different tree development).
Pot and field experiments
Figure 13 Experimental design and images from the field experiment setting
Figura 14 The variation of total plant cover for all layers (0-5, 5-10, 15-20,
>20cm) during two years.
Figura 15 Organization of activities for hydrogeological modeling at Valea
Seşii.
The dispersion of metals in river floodplains
Figure 10 The relation between the pH and electric conductivity
in the soil
Conclusions
It were produced an eco-technology for the remediation of tailing dams at readiness level 2 and
five environmental services at readiness level 1. A sound foundation has been provided for the
development of the services to more advanced readiness levels by conceiving a methodology for
diagnosing the maturity state of the environmental management systems in the relevant
organizations, as well as for identifying the internal and external barrier of organizational change
and cooperation. The strategic solution is the creation of an ecosystem of innovation made of the
producers of negative externalities, their receptors, organizations with various consulting roles,
and other relevant stakeholders. We used this new operational framework for the designs of a new
project dealing with research and institutional development, which capitalize on data bases, field
organization and long-term experiments resulted from TIMMAR project and from other past
projects in our portfolio.
Figura 24 Work in the Arieş floodplain, a 25x25 m grid of measurements in the Certej floodplain, and the GPS track downstream Lungeşti on a similar 25x25 m grid.
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