Guarda (Municipality)
3,159,628.58 €
2015 - 2015

Environmental Remediation at the Former Barracão Factory


The Barracão Former Radium Factory is located in the civil parish of Santana da Azinha, in the municipality and district of Guarda.

Ores from surrounding mines containing high quantities of uranium were processed here, mainly originating from veins. The ores were milled, with the primary ores oxidized by roasting. Etching was effected with sulphuric acid in granite tanks, after which the radium underwent precipitation and washing with barium. The merchantable product was a barium sulphate concentrate and radium. The uranium was disregarded and sent to the water lines. Given the poor mobility of radium even in an acid medium, it remained in the structure of the minerals, as a result of which the yield was very low (< 25%). The remaining spoil heaps were of high activity due to the radium and other long-lived radio-nuclides 230Th and 210Pb.

The contract for environmental remediation of the Barracão Former Radium Factory, included in that of the Prado Velho and Ferro Velho, consisted of the following main activities:

  • Preliminary works, including the removal of debris from the old buildings and industrial facilities to Prado Velho;
  • Removal of contaminated materials to the confined disposal site at Prado Velho;
  • Cleaning and removal of underlying soils to the confined disposal site at Prado Velho;
  • Recovery of the landscape.

This contract was awarded to Oliveiras Empreiteiros, SA for 3,159,628.58 (including Prado Velho and Ferro Velho) and had a duration of 238 days.

The investment in this intervention was co-financed by the Cohesion Fund and enabled the objectives proposed for these former mining areas to be achieved, including a reduction in risks to safety, environmental and radiological risks, while simultaneously improving the surrounding landscape, as well as recovering areas that  had been rendered unusable by the disposal of tailings associated with the mining operations, and which may now be used for other purposes.

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