La Agencia de Medio Ambiente ha organizado en Mina Concepción una jornada informativa dirigida a técnicos y empresas del sector minero para conocer la tecnología de depuración de aguas con residuos de esta actividad industrial

La aldea Mina Concepción, en Almonaster la Real, ha acogido hoy la celebración de un workshop dirigido a empresarios del sector de la minería, el medio ambiente, organizaciones de regantes e investigadores para dar a conocer la tecnología en la que está basada el proyecto Life-Etad, encabezado por Sacyr, la Universidad de Huelva y la Consejería de Medio Ambiente, a través de la Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua. Dicho proyecto europeo supone un gran avance para minimizar los impactos ambientales de la minería, en concreto para depurar las aguas contaminadas por dicha actividad. El objetivo de este encuentro es el dar a conocer la tecnología que se ha puesto en marcha en una planta construida por el proyecto Life Etad, con objeto de poder exportar esta metodología de trabajo a otros territorios que también cuentan con problemática ambiental derivada de la actividad minera.

La ubicación de la planta, en Mina Concepción, fue seleccionada como la más óptima para la prueba de este sistema de depuración que permite ofrecer una solución a la contaminación derivada de la intensa actividad que hubo en la cuenca minera de Huelva, y cuya afectación se observa principalmente en el río Odiel, en lo que a aguas superficiales se refiere, aunque la degradación también repercute en las aguas subterráneas.

La jornada, que ha sido inaugurada por el alcalde de Almonaster la Real, Jacinto José Vázquez López, ha contado también con la participación de representantes de los socios del proyecto, quienes han explicado los pormenores de este proyecto. La sesión de trabajo ha finalizado con una visita guiada a la planta, donde han podido explicar in situ a los 30 profesionales presentes el funcionamiento de la misma. Igualmente, durante el encuentro se ha hecho entrega de material explicativo de la planta.

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El proyecto Life Etad presente en ‘La Noche Europea de los Investigadores’

El proyecto Life Etad ha estado presente este año en la convocatoria denominada “Noche Europea de los Investigadores”, una iniciativa impulsada en Huelva por la Oficina de Transferencia de Resultados de Investigación (OTRI) de la Universidad de Huelva, la Fundación Descubre y el Ayuntamiento de Huelva. En total se programaron para este evento casi una veintena de actividades didácticas y lúdicas en las que participaron 60 científicos. Entre las presentaciones se encontraban las del proyecto Life Etad, de la mano de los técnicos del proyecto David Caro (de la Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua) y Francisco Macías (de la Universidad de Huelva).

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This initiative is part of the promotion of the LIFE ETAD project, with the participation of  Sacyr,  UHU and AMAYA

A video, by way of short documentary, explains the context and the path of the mining industry in the province of Huelva, the heritage left to the Odiel River in the form of waste and the solution sought by the LIFE ETAD project. This video is part of the promotion activities of this European project and is available in the following Youtube channel (link still not available).

The LIFE ETAD project promoted the construction and implementation of a new water treatment plant for water contaminated by  acid mine drainage. The station, already working in Almonaster la Real allows testing a patented technology by the University of Huelva (UHU) that enables the purification of water by means of a passive treatment with resource to reactive materials. Besides UHU, also the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua (AMAYA) – Agency for the Environment and Water (AMAYA)  and the company sacyr take part on the project..

The corporate video with a 6,5 minute duration has been produced with permission of the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua  - Agency for the Environment and Water, partner in charge of the project promotion actions. This has been awarded to the Mettre producer, with a budget of 3.645 Euros and an execution time of two months. The audio-visual work counts with great amount of graphic resources for a better contextualisation of the mining industry waste problem, as well as the proposed solution of a passive treatment.

Aerial film sequences were thus performed by means of drones, as well as animated photos and 3D interactive graphics. The work has likewise English subtitles to ensure a promotion as wide as possible. To perform the footage of historic material, the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua  – Agency for the Environment and Water re  quested the collaboration of both the Museum of the Province of Huelva, within the purview of the Council for Culture, Tourism and Sports and the Mining Museum of Riotinto, within the purview of the Foundation with the same name. In both cases, a valuable archive has been made available, that properly enriched this documentary, from the mining exploration performed by Carthaginians and Romans, till the English Company Rio Tinto Company Limited and its subsequent abandonment.

The video also collects the participation of representatives of the three partners of the project, who tell about their participation in this initiative as well as the importance of having at disposal a purifying system of water deriving from mine drainage, since this technology might be useful for other places in the world with the same kind of problems as the Huelva case.

This audio-visual work features one of the main promotion elements of the work that is being performed in the framework of the LIFE ETAD project and is also available in the internet page of the project (link still unavailable).

The LIFE ETAD project

The acid mine drainage consist of water that undergoes an alteration of its PH to acid levels in the locations where there was mining activity. The fact that the Odiel basin contains one of the most contaminated waters in the world, make of it the perfect location for testing. The Conserjeria de Medio Ambiente y Agua - Council for Environment and Water was the entity in charge of the design of the station. On its turn, the company Sacyr Construcción was the partner in charge of the accomplishment of the works, while the University of Huelva contributed with knowledge and research related with the passive purifying system that is being validated in the project. The LIFE ETAD project is financed by the LIFE financing instrument of the European Union. From the total budget of 2,6 million Euros that support the LIFE, 49,9% belong to community funds and the rest is sponsored by the partners. This project has a 4-year duration and is running till December 2017.

Source: Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio

The results of the first year of the water treatment pilot plant located in Mina Concepción are highly favourable to the LIFE ETAD project

The assessment of the first working year of the passive treatment plant of Mina Concepción (Huelva), created within the framework of the Life ETAD project could not have been more positive. Thirteen complete samples were analysed, and the behaviour of the acid drainage under treatment and purification process afterwards interpreted. After the intervention in a total amount of 20.225 cubic meters of acid drainage, it has been possible to fully eliminate compounds of iron, arsenic, chromium, aluminium, copper, lead, zinc, cadmium and magnesium, besides 95% of copper and nickel and till 68% of the sulphate. Besides, the drain water stemming from the drainage process resulted in a ph level higher than 7, the electric conductivity has been reduced to less than half, and, in short, the treatment plant managed to convert contaminated acid waters in fully alkaline water.

The acid mine drainage consists of water that undergoes an alteration of its PH to acid levels in areas where mining activity took place. Bearing in mind that the Odiel basin contains some of the most contaminated water in the world, this is the framework for an experimental technology developed by the University of Huelva, which is undergoing a validation process. This experimental technology consists in purifying the water by means of a reactive reservoir and decanting tanks arranged in line to where the water is conduced.

The Life ETAD project is sponsored in 50% by community funds, was the promoter of the construction of the acid mine drainage plant in Mina Concepcíon, in a partnership with the University of Huelva, the Sacyr company and the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua de Andalucía. The plant started working in April 2017, with an immediate intervention in the main local drainage. Notwithstanding the forced summer gap due to the lack of water flow, the success of the results overcame the initial expectations and the impact of the interruption returned null.

The Mina Concepción plant counts on several reservoirs containing a reactive material that will allow the improvement of the water quality, after it has undergone the complete process. The design of the equipment has been thought to work by means of gravity, thus avoiding the consumption of electricity. With this plant is intention of the Life ETAD project to present a low-cost solution for the acid mine drainage water. Likewise, the project will be followed-up by reusing the waste derived from the purifying process, - the result of the mix of radioactive material with the decanted metals -, as these have a great interest for industrial and technological usage.

The councillor opens the facilities of the water treatment plant of water deriving from the mining activity in Huelva

The councillor of Environment and Territory, Jose Fiscal underlined today at Mina Concepción, located on the edge of Almonaster la Real, (Huelva) the future implications of the results that might arise from the European project LIFE-ETAD in the environmental recovery of the river Odiel basin. The councillor was present in the pilot treatment station opening, presently with the purification results of water  deriving from acid mine drainage in a follow up and evaluation stage.

The Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio  - Council of Environment and Territory participates in the project through the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua - Environment and Water Agency,  the entity in charge of the plant building project. On its turn, the company Sacyr Construcción leads the project and is the partner responsible for the accomplishment of works, while The University of Huelva contributes with knowledge and research related to the passive purification process which will be for the first time tested in this project.

The LIFE–ETAD project is subsidised by the European Union LIFE financing tool. From the global 2,6 million Euros of the LIFE project, 49,9% come from community funds as the rest is sponsored by the partners.

 The acid mine drainage consist of waters whose PH drops to acidic levels, and are to be found in locations where mining activity had once taken place.  Validating this system in the Odiel river basin, one of the most contaminated rivers in the world, would allow exporting the technology to other territories with similar problems, making at the same time the mining activity feasible with an environmental perspective.

The Mina Concepción station has at its disposal several reservoirs which contain a reactive material that allows improving the quality of the water to be drained, provided that it undergoes the complete purification circuit. The equipments have been designed to work by means of gravity, thus avoiding the consumption of electricity. The follow up and assessment of the purification process will enable to determine if the system is adequate as a low-cost solution to the acid mine drainage. Besides, according to tests performed during the study phase, the water purification level is adequate to enable its reuse as an irrigation resource. 

Fiscal highlighted that accomplishing the LIFE-ETAD would suppose the real application of this purifying system developed by the University of Huelva and the development by Andalusian scientists of a technology unique in the world. “In the last years important steps are being taken towards both the recovery of the river basins contaminated by the previous mining activity and to ensure that the this is a sustainable and environmentally feasible industry”, he stressed.  

 

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Source: Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio

Project goal

Implement an optimized design of a passive treatment system for acid mine drainage process, in a kind of IPF mining location.

Demonstrate by building and launching a full-scale plant of passive treatment technology...(+) 

Project progress

 First works of the experimental treatment plant LIFE ETAD have already executed; they have consisted in transplanting of the protected species plants (Erica andevalensis) present in the plot and that could be affected by the execution of the works.

 


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