Remediation booklets 9.
Sub-program of solid mineral mining - Uranium mining (2003)
Contents

  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Liability in the case of remediation and recultivation tasks
  • 2. Official decisions and requirements
    • 2.1. Authorising authorities and procedures
    • 2.2. Radio protective requirements
      • 2.2.1. Radiation protection principles applying to the area
      • 2.2.2. Definite radio protective requirements applying to the area
  • 3. Determination of tasks, inventory of sites and installations
    • 3.1. Main inventory
      • 3.1.1. Inventory of underground openings
      • 3.1.2. Inventory of opencasts and their installations
      • 3.1.3. Inventory of waste pits and their environment
      • 3.1.4. Inventory of the percolation pits, sites
      • 3.1.5. Inventory of mud-ponds and their environment
      • 3.1.6. Inventory of outcrop-areas
  • 4. Statements of the environmental state assessment
    • 4.1. Environmental impacts of mining
    • 4.2. Base rock, mineral resources
    • 4.3. Air pollution
    • 4.4. Pollution of soil, geological medium
    • 4.5. Surface water pollution
    • 4.6. Groundwater pollution
    • 4.7. Impact on the living environment
    • 4.8. Impact on the nearby settlements
    • 4.9. Impact on the landscape
  • 5. Target status to be achieved by remediation
    • 5.1. Air
    • 5.2. Soil, geological medium
    • 5.3. Water
    • 5.4. Living environment
      • 5.4.1. Flora
      • 5.4.2. Fauna
    • 5.5. Settlements
    • 5.6. Landscape
    • 5.7. Radiation
    • 5.8. Monitoring system, as the tool for attaining and maintaining target status
  • 6. Research and development activities to support remediation and recultivation
    • 6.1. Water quality protection
    • 6.2. Main research activities related to water treatment
      • 6.2.1. Pit water treatment
      • 6.2.2. Unbound water treatment
      • 6.2.3. Cleaning of contaminated shallow groundwater in the surroundings of mud-ponds
    • 6.3. The use of reactive barriers in water quality protection
      • 6.3.1. Activated calcium-oxide based reactive barriers
      • 6.3.2. Metallic iron based reactive barriers
    • 6.4. Investigations foregoing to the planning of mud-pond recultivation
      • 6.4.1. Chemical and mineralogical investigations
      • 6.4.2. Geotechnical investigations
      • 6.4.3. Dehydration tests
      • 6.4.4. Investigation of the vertical spreading of contaminants
      • 6.4.5. Capping investigations
  • 7. Determination of the tasks of the Investment Program, projects
    • 7.1. Abandonment of underground installations
    • 7.2. Recultivation of opencast installations and sites
    • 7.3. Recultivation of waste pits and their environment
    • 7.4. Recultivation of percolation pits and their environment
    • 7.5. Recultivation of mud-ponds and their environment
    • 7.6. Pit water treatment
    • 7.7. Reconstruction of the power supply system
    • 7.8. Reconstruction of the water and sewage system
    • 7.9. Other infrastructures
    • 7.10. Other activities
  • 8. Conception of the recultivation and remedial works, presentation of the finished tasks
    • 8.1. Underground installations
      • 8.1.1. Conception of the closing of underground installations
      • 8.1.2. Abandonment of underground installations
    • 8.2. Remediation conception of the outcasts and their installations, presentation of the performed tasks
      • 8.2.1. Conception plan of the remediation of mining areas and buildings
      • 8.2.2. Tasks performed in the outcasts and on the installations
    • 8.3. Recultivation conception of waste pits and their environment, presentation of the performed tasks
      • 8.3.1. Conception plan of the recultivation of waste pits
    • 8.4. Recultivation of percolation pits and their environment, performed tasks
      • 8.4.1. Recultivation conception of percolation pits
      • 8.4.2. Remedial and recultivation tasks performed in the percolation areas
    • 8.5. Recultivation of mud-ponds and their environment, performed tasks
      • 8.5.1. Recultivation conception of mud-ponds
    • 8.6. Water management system of the uranium ore mining in the Mecsek mountains
      • 8.6.1. Hydrogeological characteristics of the mining area
      • 8.6.2. Water handling
      • 8.6.3. Industrial water management in the operative period
      • 8.6.4. Ore production technology
      • 8.6.5. Industrial water use – Water treatment
      • 8.6.6. Percolation technology
      • 8.6.7. Plan and tasks of the water treatment conception for the period subsequent to the closing of the mine
      • 8.6.8. Uniform drainage system
      • 8.6.9. Pit Water Treatment Plant
      • 8.6.10. Chemical water treatment
    • 8.7. Reconstruction of the infrastructure
      • 8.7.1. Reconstruction of the electric supply system
      • 8.7.2. Reconstruction of the heating system
    • 8.8. Monitoring of the recultivated and remediated sites and installations
      • 8.8.1. Construction of the monitoring system
      • 8.8.2. Hydrogeological monitoring
      • 8.8.3. Radiological monitoring
      • 8.8.4. Environment-geological (soil) monitoring
      • 8.8.5. Slope failure monitoring
      • 8.8.6. Radiation protection monitoring
    • 8.9. Environmental Basis
  • 9. Long-distance tasks following the termination of uranium ore mining
    • 9.1. Legislative background
      • 9.1.1. Official decisions
      • 9.1.2. Determination of long-distance tasks
      • 9.1.3. Monitoring, aftercare period
      • 9.1.4. Long-distance control, maintenance
    • 9.2. Tasks grouped by hazard sources
      • 9.2.1. Radioactivity
      • 9.2.2. Slope failure and erosion
      • 9.2.3. Surface and groundwater pollution
    • 9.3. Necessary conditions for the implementation of tasks
      • 9.3.1. Environmental monitoring
      • 9.3.2. Reporting activity towards authorities and the public
      • 9.3.3. Environment-protective operation
      • 9.3.4. Maintenance, aftercare of areas of restricted utilisation
  • Figures – Photo-presentation of the remedial works of uranium ore mining

Introduction

Acc. to clause c) of Paragraph (5) of Article 41 of the Act LIII of 1995 on the general rules of environmental protection it is the environmental responsibility of the Government to eliminate the consequences of significant environmental damage, if this responsibility may not be diverted to another party. Acc. to the above-mentioned act the National Environmental Protection Program was elaborated, Appendix 7 of which specifies the National Environmental Remediation Program (hereinafter referred to as “OKKP”) on the remediation of permanent environmental damages and polluted sites pertaining to state responsibility. The establishment of the OKKP in 1995 accelerated the implementation of remediation projects, especially of those pertaining to state responsibility.

The OKKP includes also the individual remediation tasks, the implementation of which is the responsibility of the minister in charge (acc. to the distribution of tasks and responsibilities within state administration) in the framework of sub-programs (Government Decree 33/2000. (III. 17.) Korm.). Sub-programs aim at the remediation of state property under the direction of the relevant state estate administrator. Examples for sub-programs are the Solid mineral mining sub-program of the Ministry of Economy and Transport, the MÁV sub-program, the sub-program of the Ministry of Defence, etc. The implementation costs of the sub-programs are included in the budget of the responsible ministries.

Although the assessment of several pollution sources and the remediation in several other fields of mining (uranium, coal, bauxite, etc.) had started before, the full-scale assessment of the environmental damage left behind by solid mineral mining began only in 1997 in the framework of the OKKP with the co-operation of the Ministry for Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

The solid mineral mining sub-program includes the following phases:

  • 1. The elimination of environmental damage left behind by coal mining
    The Government provided for the structural changes of coal mining, in particular for the elimination of environmental damage left behind in the course of mine closing and for the allocation of the necessary funds in the Government Decision 3329/1990. Korm. A detailed “cadastre of environmental damage” was elaborated for the whole range of coal mining. The elimination of environmental damage is in progress acc. to plan under the direction of the SZÉSZEK and funded by the state.

  • 2. Uranium mining
    The Government issued the Gov. Decision 2085/1997. (IV. 3.) Korm. on the termination of uranium mining in the Mecsek mountains and the implementation of mine closing, country planning and environmental tasks under accentuated state responsibility. The decision was grounded by an environmental impact assessment study, as well as by the Investment Program elaborated on its basis aiming at the full-scale elimination of environmental damage caused by Hungarian uranium ore mining and production. In the Government Decision 2385/1997. (XI. 26.) Korm. (amended by the Gov. Decision 2006/2001. (II. 17.)) the Government approved the proposal on the investment of the recultivation tasks deriving from the termination of the Hungarian uranium ore mining as an investment of special importance.

  • 3. Other branches of solid ore mining
    A summary of the coloured metal mines, stone, gravel and sand pits not included in the list of coal and uranium mining objects recorded by the SZÉSZEK was compiled under consideration of the responsibilities.

Uranium ore mining and production had been carried out for 42 years causing significant environmental damage. Sites are polluted to such an extent, that without human intervention they may induce non-reversible processes in environmental elements.

The study “Plan for the termination of the uranium ore mining in the Mecsek mountains”, prepared in 1996 deals with all objects having an impact on environmental elements. The study considers international practice and Hungarian regulations. After the approval of the study it served as a basis for the elaboration of the impact assessment, in which it was stated, that the recultivation of the mine should be carried out within the following 5 years (reckoned from 1998 acc. to the Investment Program).

The so-called “Mine Code” applies to the remedial and recultivation works of uranium ore mining. Further, acc. to the regulations in force, the environmental impact assessment of the closing of the uranium ore mine had to be carried out prior to the start of the licensing procedure by the mine authority. The Mecsek Oremining Company (Mecseki Ércbányászati Vállalat) handed in the “Impact assessment study of the termination of uranium ore mining in the Mecsek mountains” in 1997, and the South-Transdanubian Environmental Inspectorate issued the Environmental Permit. Subsequently the remediation was carried out, the mine was closed and the related yearly plans of operation were elaborated and licensed by the Mining District Authority of Pécs. In the course of the environmental state assessment the impact of mining and ore production on environmental elements was investigated, with regard to the potential pressure that recultivation may pose on the environment and to the environmental status that would evolve without remediation.

Following to the licensing of their closure full-scale inventories of the mine-objects in question were prepared, and the tasks to carry out were reviewed with regard to the internationally applied ALARA principle, i. e. that costs and the risk posed on human health should be minimized.

The termination of uranium ore mining required a lot of professional knowledge the company was in lack of. Two ways of gaining information were possible: international co-operation and own research-development projects.

Both possibilities were used. The company started a co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency in the frame of a Phare program and joined the IAEA research projects. Experts learnt to know international experience in the field of recultivation and the modernisation of the equipment was enabled with the help of the program.

The results of the remediation works are presented acc. to the structure of the Investment Program:

  • Schedule of the remediation and recultivation works was determined by the selection of the most feasible and economical technical solutions. First the underground installations were abandoned, at the same time remediation started and buildings were dismounted and removed in the opencasts.

  • In the first three years of the Investment Program the percolation wastes were transported to waste-pit Nr. III, where they were covered by soil and implanted (1997-99).

  • Wells for the extraction of polluted water around mud-ponds were set into operation and at the same time the Chemical Water Treatment Plant (Kémiai Vízkezelő Üzem) for the cleaning of these waters was established.

  • In order to protect the water resources of Tortyogó operational water extraction Nr. I continued. The Pit Water Treatment Plant (Bányavízkezelő Üzem) was established in the area of the Environmental Basis (Környezetvédelmi Bázis) to clean pit water from uranium.

  • A uniform water treatment system for the collection and drainage of polluted water in the whole impact area was established.

  • The covering and implantation of mud pits is still in progress in 2003.

  • Hydrogeological, radiological, soil and geodynamical investigations are being carried out in the course of a complex environmental supervision activity in the impact area.

  • Recultivated objects need further surveillance after the termination of the Investment Program. Monitoring, aftercare, water extraction and treatment are necessary in the following decades.

The following table shows the schedule and costs (planned and actual costs) of the remediation tasks carried out after the termination of uranium ore mining and production:

Projects 1998-2001 2002 2003
Planned costs
(HUF)
Actual costs
(HUF)
Planned costs
(HUF)
Actual annual costs
(HUF)
Program of measures
Investment Program Program of measures Investment Program Program of measures
01
Abandonment of the underground installations
2 889 349 0002 485 178 0002 343 049 6350000
02
Recultivation of the outcast installations and sites
1 778 942 0001 843 974 0001 565 462 697602 252 000287 000 000320 518 57650 000 000
03
Recultivation of the waste pits and their environment
358 686 000676 702 000662 763 102260 107 000200 750 00082 543 19240 000 000
04
Recultivation of percolation pits and their environment
1 981 872 0001 852 431 0001 880 036 40425 813 00030 644 00018 930 3050
05
Recultivation of mud-ponds and their environment
5 325 237 0003 969 583 0002 421 560 6452 141 258 0002 266 101 0001 868 919 359946 000 000
06
Pit water treatment
524 715 0001 340 170 0001 335 701 49686 043 000237 300 000242 338 2020
07
Reconstruction of the power supply system
635 140 00062 000 000125 918 3520000
08
Reconstruction of the water and sewage system
84 062 0001 000 000100 043 1790000
09
Other infrastructures
547 116 000476 660 000470 672 520102 605 00047 728 00047 329 0000
10
Other activities
924 372 0001 584 334 0001 441 607 502227 009 000430 477 000368 411 968109 000 000
(SUM) 15 049 491 00014 292 032 00012 346 815 5323 445 087 0003 500 000 0002 948 990 6021 145 000 000