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ERMITE

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  1. THE REGULATION OF MINE WATERS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE ERMITE PROJECT 20 February 2003. Barcelona, Spain ERMITE

  2. INTRODUCTION ERMITE

  3. Recent large-scale contamination events in Europe (Aznalcóllar, Spain, 1998; Baia Mare, Romania, 2000) have shown the potential risks of water pollution by mine waste and discharges from abandoned and active mines. And they have demonstrated the inadequacy of the current technical, institutional and legislative framework within the EU. Aznalcóllar, Spain ERMITE

  4. Mine water pollution differs sufficiently from other forms of industrial pollution to propose specific regulatory requirements quite distinct from those applicable to most other industrial processes. Baia Mare, Romania ERMITE

  5. Currently mine water regulation varies from one country to another in the EU. As mine waters are a pan-European problem it seems that their regulation would be best addressed at EU level. A common European approach to mine water regulation in the development of the River Basin Management Plans arising from the Water Framework Directive would contribute substantially to the achievement of “good status” in industrialised catchments. The ERMITE project (European Commission Fifth Framework Programme) focuses on the environmental regulation of mine waters in the EU. Its goal is to provide integrated policy guidelines for developing European legislation and practice in relation to water management in the mining sector. ERMITE

  6. MINE WATER PROBLEMS ERMITE

  7. Definition of mine water adopted by the ERMITE project: “Mine water is water which is in mined ground (including waste rock/tailings depositories) and/or which is now flowing from mined ground into adjoining waterbodies (such as streams, wetlands, lakes, aquifers, and oceans)”. Mine waters are part of the water cycle but are rarely treated as such in regulatory frameworks. This is despite the fact that short- and long-term pollution from active and abandoned mines is still one of the most serious threats to the water environment. ERMITE

  8. Impacts of mining on water resources (both groundwater and superficial water) occur at various stages of the mining cycle: • The mining process itself • Mineral processing operations • Via the dewatering which is undertaken to make mining possible • Seepage of contaminated leachate from waste rock piles and tailings dams • Through flooding of workings after extraction has ceased • Discharge of untreated waters after flooding is complete ERMITE

  9. EFFECTS • HYDROLOGIC IMPACT (disruptions of groundwater systems and flow patterns, water table affection, alteration of flow rates, changes in the natural running waters...) • LOST OF QUALITY (physical and/or chemical) Sources of pollution vary in importance during mining cycle: * Waste rock piles/tailings more potent sources during active mining * Flooded mine voids major pollutant sources long after mining has ceased ERMITE

  10. There are many entire rivers (and substantial reaches of others) which have effectively been removed from the inventory of fresh water resources due to mine water pollution (e.g. about 1000 km in the UK alone). In some areas where water resources are already scarce (Southern Europe), this problem is particularly serious (growing in importance as the climate changes) In EU: trend to increasing long-term water pollution as mining contracts ERMITE

  11. Example of pollution originated by mine waters in Spain: Tinto-Odiel rivers’ basins (Huelva, South Spain), both rivers cross in their upper course the Iberian Pyrite Bell, in exploitation since pre-historical times. The amount of metal pollution that the two rivers throw to the sea is evaluated to be of about 1200000 tons per year of sulphates and 20000 tons per year of heavy metals. Their great potential of pollution is so big that, in a rainy year, they transport a bigger amount of heavy metals per week than those transported by the Aznalcollar accident. ERMITE

  12. EU POLICIES AND MINING ACTIVITIES ERMITE

  13. There is no specific Community legislation regarding mining activity. The existing EU legal tools in relation to environmental issues of mining activities can be divided into two categories: EU POLICIES WASTE LEGISLATION OTHER EU POLICIES ERMITE

  14. EU WASTE LEGISLATION ERMITE

  15. OTHER EU POLICIES ERMITE

  16. ERMITE

  17. The analysis made before proves that existing EU legislation does not cover properly the environmental aspects of mining Policy developments (Water and Mining) • Proposal for a Directive on Mining Waste • Amendments of Seveso II Directive • BAT Doc on Management of Tailings and Waste-Rocks in Mining Activities ERMITE

  18. European Commission Fifth Framework ProgrammeENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Key action 1: Sustainable Management and Quality of Water RTD Priority 1.1.2: Socio-economic aspects of sustainable use of water THE ERMITE PROJECT (Environmental Regulation of Mine Waters in the European Union) www.minewater.net/ermite ERMITE

  19. To provide integrated policy guidelines for developing European legislation and practice in relation to water management in the mining sector. These guidelines need to be coherent with the catchment management approach defined by the Water Framework Directive and the sustainability principles enshrined in the Amsterdam Treaty. OBJECTIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF GOALS • Analysis of problems in relation to mine waters and integration of the variety of regional and national conditions in in EU Member States and in potential accession states • Integration of disciplines: environmental technology and management of mine waters, institutional structures and European law policies ERMITE

  20. PARTNERS The ERMITE consortium is a multidisciplinary team, including mining schools, water resources groups, ecologists, economists, lawyers and experts in European policy and institutional issues. • University of Oviedo (Spain) • University of Newcastle upon Tyne (United Kingdom) • Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, JRC, Sevilla (a unit of the European Commission) • Netherlands Institute for Ecology (Netherlands) • University of Exeter (United Kingdom) • Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) • Technical University and Mining Academy Freiberg (Germany) • Institute for Mining, Geotechnology and Environment (Slovenia) • Hydro-Engineering Institute of the Civil Engineering Faculty, University fo Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) ERMITE

  21. PROJECT WORKPLAN(WORKPACKAGES) WP1. Case studies of representative problems WP2. Development of an overview of mine water issues in the EU and Eastern Europe WP3. Institutional research and development of the stakeholder network WP4. Derivation of technical guidelines and economic evaluation WP5. Drafting of European policy guidelines WP6. Reporting to the European Commission ERMITE

  22. The project will produce nine deliverables associated with those mentioned six workpackages. D1. Case studies (WP1) D2. Overview of the EU and Eastern Europe (WP2) D3. Institutional research (WP3) D4. Analysis of EU policies (WP5) D5. Economic evaluation (WP4) D6. Technical and managerial guidelines (WP4) D7. Workshop reports and institutional recommendations (WP3) D8. Policy guidelines (WP5) D9. Integrated guidelines (WP6) 2001 2002 2003 2004 ERMITE

  23. TWO YEARS OF ERMITE PROJECT • The first four deliverables have been produced.It has been obtained: • An overview of the key issues affecting the regulation of mine waters in the EU and potential accession states • An in-depth analysis of the conditions and institutional dynamics involved in the management of mine waters in six representative countries. • An analysis of the existing EU policies which influence mine water management, an exploration of the legal incentives affecting mine operators, and a critical analysis of the ecological concepts used in EU environmental legislation ERMITE

  24. TWO YEARS OF ERMITE PROJECT ERMITE calls for an integrated and interdisciplinary approach, combining both waste and water perspectives in a full life mining cycle approach. It will be devoted a special effort to change the common current view taken by the European Commission to treat mining activities only from the perspective of solid waste and not from the water point of view. It became clear that all EU but only some non EU member states are aware of mine water issues (and it can be assumed the existence of about 10000 of active, closed, and abandoned mines discharging polluted mine waters) Regulation and management of mine water issues differs substantially from one country to another ERMITE

  25. TWO YEARS OF ERMITE PROJECT A pan-European network of regional, national and European stakeholders has been established. The development of the project is presented to them in workshops (one per year). They contribute to the progress of the work and act as independent auditing mechanism for quality control. Some of the findings obtained are based on the opinions and discussions of the stakeholder groups and the views gathered in a number of qualitative interviews ERMITE has been directly invited to send comments for the proposed Directive on Mining Waste ERMITE

  26. THE REGULATION OF MINE WATERS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE ERMITE PROJECT 20 February 2003. Barcelona, Spain ERMITE