The European Commission approved the LIFE ETAD project  (Ecological Treatment of Acid Drainage), which will allow the development of a new purifying method of water derived from mines in Andalucía, namely in the Iberian Pyrite Belt and the Odiel basin, that will also be implemented in other areas of Europe.

In this project, which counts on a 2.650.738 million Euros budget and an completion time till December 2017, participate the Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio through Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua,  Sacyr Construcción and the University of Huelva, which, on its turn, informed the autonomic administration by means of an press release.

The project aims at the conception and optimisation of the passive treatment process of acid mine drainage in a standard location in the Iberian Pyrite Belt, as well as the construction and activation of a passive treatment technology installation, which will thus by a contribute to attain the goals of the Plano National Hydrological Plan of the Tinto, Odiel and Piedras rivers. Likewise purified waters are to be achieved to be used as irrigation resource for vineyards and citrus production, a feasible alternative in the affected areas.

The beauty of the Corta Atalaya of the Rio Tinto Mines

The results previewed state the capacity of full scale passive technologies as feasible treatment of acid mine drainage, the improvement of the water quality in the area and the resource to technologies that would solve a serious environmental problem that affects water degraded by the mining activity, both in Andalucía and in other locations in Europe, since the Life Etad project aims at presenting itself as a reference pilot project for other areas affected by similar problems in the European continent

The intense miner activity performed in the Iberian Pyrite Belt resulted in abandoned mines and mining waste in slag heaps, sludge deposits, open air pits, etc. These degraded areas are the main contamination source of both surface and ground waters in the Odiel basin, due to the acid drainage they generate.

Source: La Vanguardia

The European Commission approved the Life Etad Project (Ecological Treatment of Acid Drainage) LIFE12 ENV/ES/000250, whose goal is the development and implementation of a new method of water purification derived from mines. In this project, which counts on a 2.650.738 million Euros budget and an completion time till December 2017, participate the Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio through Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua,  Sacyr Construcción and the University of Huelva.

The project aims at the Conception and optimisation of the passive treatment process of acid mine drainage in a standard location in the Iberian Pyrite Belt, as well as the construction and activation of a passive treatment technology station, which will thus be a contribute to achieve the goals of the National Hydrological Plan of the Tinto, Odiel and Piedras rivers. Likewise, purified waters are to be achieved to be used as irrigation resource for vineyards and citrus production, a feasible alternative in the affected areas.

The beauty of the Corta Atalaya of the Rio Tinto Mines

The work previously developed by the Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio, consist of studying the potential locations and selecting the implementation of the site for future construction as well as its basic design, definition of operations and a process layout. An innovation has been the station’s basic equipment designed to run by means of gravity, which avoids electricity consumption.

The results previewed state the capacity of full scale passive technologies as feasible treatment of acid mine drainage, the improvement of the water quality in the area and the resource to technologies that would solve a serious environmental problem that affects water degraded by the mine activity, both in Andalucía and in other locations in Europe, since the Life Etad project aims at presenting itself as a reference pilot project for other areas affected by similar problems in the European continent.

The intense mining activity performed in the Iberian Pyrite Belt resulted in abandoned mines and mining waste in slag heaps, sludge deposits, open air pits, etc. These degraded areas are the main contamination source of both surface and ground waters in the Odiel basin, due to the acid drainage they generate. The acid mine drainage consist of water that undergoes an alteration of its PH to acid levels. The research for new treatment methods for this acid water is crucial to improve the quality and progressive recovery of the of the Odiel river.

This project arises then as the follow up of the intense research that has been conducted these last years, aiming at a possible solution by means of passive treatment of the acidic discharges. Treatments such as Anoxic Limestone Drains (ALD), the Alkalinity Producing Systems or the Sulphate Reducing Bioreactors, once implemented, would require a relatively low upkeep cost. 49,99 % of the whole budget of approximately 2.650.738 Euros are from community funds and the rest is sponsored by the Life Etad partners.

 

Source: Huelva buenas noticias

LIFE-ETAD participated as a partner in the XIII National Congress of Irrigation Communities of Spain, organized by the National Federation of Irrigators Communities of Spain (FENACORE) and the Community of Irrigators of Palos de la Frontera and from 12 to 16 May 2014 in Huelva.

Since the passive treatment of acid mine drainage proposed by the LIFE project seeks to achieve ETAD debugging these waters as to allow its use for irrigation, the event proved to be the ideal for presentation to the Spanish irrigation sector under our project.

This event became known to the Project LIFE-ETAD by delivering promotional flyers (brochures) to each congressman (over 1,100 attendees from across Spain) and installing a permanent stand in it, publishing articles in the Bulletin of Congress and quarterly newsletters of the organization and sending email advertising from FENACORE all federated Irrigators Communities.

Regadios

Links: www.congresoreganteshuelva.org/

 

The Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio de la Junta de Andalucía - Council of Environment and Territory of the Regional Government of Andalucía - participates, together with the University of Huelva and the company Sacyr Construcción, in the LIFE ETAD Project, which will allow the construction and implementation of a new water treatment plant for water deriving from acid mine drainage. The councillor, José Fiscal, has visited the site where works have already started in the beginning of November and continue for 3 to 6 months, depending on the volume of rain during winter. The LIFE ETAD Project counts on a 2,6 million Euros budget.

Fiscal highlighted the importance of a Project that will allow the resolution of the contamination problem that arouse from the intense activity of the mining basin in the province of Huelva. According to the  holder of the Environment portfolio, “it might mean a boost in the minimisation of the environmental impact of the mining industry. Besides, the validation of this treatment system will enable the exportation of this technology to other European territories”. Likewise, the council stated that the “Junta of Andalucía defends for years a sustainable mining exploration and the boost of the economy based on knowledge and the o I+d+i, together with this initiative is a new example of that”.

Presently, the field work that is being performed, consist of the earth movement prior to the beginning of the construction of the different parts that compose the station. This will comprise several deposits which contain a radioactive material that will allow water treatment the moment these completes an entire purification cycle. The design of the equipments has been thought to work by means of gravity, thus avoiding the consumption of electricity.

The station is located in Mina Concepción, county of Almonaster la Real in Huelva, a spot considered excellent to test this purification system, which will offer a solution for the contamination deriving from the once intense activity in the mining basin of Huelva and its effects which are to be observed mainly in the surface waters of the Odiel river, notwithstanding the degradation of the ground waters too.

The end of work means setting in motion the LIFE ETAD project, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the results of the purifying process, with the aim of determining the sustainability of the process to resolve the acid mine drainage issue. According to tests performed during the study phase, the purification level is adequate to its reuse for irrigation, for instance. 

The LIFE ETAD Project

The LIFE ETAD project follows a research performed with the aim of presenting possible solutions by means of passive treatment of the acid discharges.  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 Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio de la Junta de Andalucía is a partner in this project through the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua - Environment and Water Agency - the entity in charge of the conception of this station. 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 tested for the first time in this project.

 

Source:  Technical Magazine of the Environment

LIFE-ETAD participated as a collaborator Course "Acid Mine Drainage (AMD): Education, Prevention and Treatment" in the 2014 Summer School of the International University of Andalusia (UNIA), held from 21 to 25 July 2014 in Campus of Santa Maria de la Rabida (Palos de la Frontera, Huelva).

The main objective of the course was to give a comprehensive view of the problems caused by acid mine drainage, showing the best available techniques for reduction and treatment. In this sense, the course addressed the processes of formation of acid waters, forecasting techniques, the environmental impact caused by the legislative framework and indicators of water quality, preventive training techniques, as well as the acid water treatment of both active and passive mine (this part of the program was devoted to ETAD LIFE-Project).

This training released to students enrolled (in a total of 29) on LIFE-ETAD project through a presentation (2.5 hours) devoted exclusively to himself and taught by Professor of the University of Huelva Dr . Suárez Francisco Macías.

Links:

http://www.unia.es/images/stories/sede_rabida/2013-2014/Cursos%20de%20Verano/drenaje_acido_de_minas_dam_formacion_prevencion_y_tratamiento.pdf

http://www.huelvainformacion.es/article/huelva/1821662/impacto/ambiental/la/exploracion/minera/debate.html

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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