„Tools for the Integrated Management of Mining Areas and River basins (TIMMAR)'”

Proiect cuprins în cadrul programului PARTENERIATE ÎN DOMENII PRIORITARE, PCCA Tip 1, Direcţia de Cercetare: Mediu.
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,

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).

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 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.

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).

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 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

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)

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

Figure 6 Developmental scenarios for a socio-ecological system including four Romanian counties in central Transylvania (Nieto-Romero et al. 2016).

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

The relation between the pH and electric conductivity in the soil.

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 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.

Figure 14

The variation of total plant cover for all layers (0-5, 5-10, 15-20, >20cm) during two years.

The dispersion of metals in river floodplains

Figure 15

Organization of activities for hydrogeological modeling at Valea Seşii.

Figure 16

PCA biplot with sampling stations and plant species using factors 1 and 2.

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.