Combustion sources extinction in Pejão heaps

| 08 February 2019

Since January 2018 and following the request for institutional collaboration by the General Directorate of Energy and Geology (DGEG) and the Municipality of Castelo de Paiva, EDM-Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro, S.A. (EDM), has been developing actions to extinguish fires in the Pejão-Germunde Old Coal mining heaps.

The heaps began to burn slowly as a result of the severe forest fires from October 2017, which devastated the country, yet had a major incidence in the municipality of Castelo de Paiva. Since then, the combustion of carbonaceous materials has spread slowly in the underground.

As a result of the event, which required urgent, relevant and immediate intervention, in order to minimize exposure and risk to human health, to the environment and to the population living in the burning areas vicinity, EDM started the work to mobilize and extinguish the fires in February 2018.

After the applicable tender procedures, EDM started implementing a technical solution validated in an extended meeting held in January 2018 at the Municipality of Castelo de Paiva. Beside EDM, there were present the municipality representatives, DGEG, the National Laboratory of Energy and Geology (LNEG), the Coordination and Regional Development Commission of the North (CCDR-N), the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) and the Civil Protection of Aveiro.

The technical solution consists of partially mobilizing the heaps, gaining access to the burning materials, and proceeding to the extinction and provisional compaction of the adjacent platforms. The characterization made, led to the conclusion that the 4 fire sources, designated by A1, A2, A3 and A4, were located in different areas and limited to the materials type that form part of the heaps, suggesting no evidence that there was propagation to coal deposits that were not exploited in the underground.

Since the beginning, EDM has continuously developed actions identified as suitable for extinguishing the fires, carrying out the technical means adjusted to the nature and complexity of these operations. At the same time, it has been promoting adequate monitoring of air quality, which results are transmitted to the competent authorities, that have followed the work under the scope of its powers.

With the extinction of outbreaks A1, A2 and A4, EDM is currently quelling the outbreak A3, which has greater dimensions and presents bigger complexity. Nevertheless, all the technical and human means necessary for its mobilization and extinction have been mobilized, and the procedure is expected to be concluded in April 2019. Again, adequate monitoring of air quality has been made.


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