Location
Seia (Municipality)
Investment
1,321,018.77 €
2015 - 2015

Environmental Remediation in the Fontinha Mining Area

Concluded

The former mining area of Fontinha is located in the civil parish of Girabolhos, in the municipality of Seia, district of Guarda. The area surrounding the deposit is forms part of the Beira Plateau, a moderately uneven area, with elevations varying between 400 and 430 metres. In terms of location, the mine is situated on a shallow slope facing W, at an average elevation of 410 m. It is a remote location, relatively far from villages, surrounded by pine forest and bush and with no downstream agricultural activities.

Mining took place from 1989 to 1991 by means of an open pit around 120 m long, 40 m wide and 30 m deep. About 5,000 tons of poor ore were transported to the Quinta do Bispo mine. The mine produced around 26,841 Kg of U3O8, contained in ore with an average U3O8 content of 0.09%. There was no ore leaching at the mine site.

The environmental remediation works to be carried out in this mining area consist of the following main activities:

  • Clearing of intervention areas and partial demolition of fences that may interfere with the normal development of the works, and which are deemed unnecessary in terms of occupational safety;
  • Emptying of the mining pit through pumping and discharge into the water line;
  • Preparation of the pit (stabilization of slopes and adjustment of the base) to receive contaminated materials;
  • Removal of any debris inside the mining pit that is currently submerged;
  • Treatment of existing materials within the mining area, through their transfer to a final disposal site. The final disposal site selected for the disposal of the existing spoil heap materials is the former open pit mine within the mining area;
  • Execution of a provisional drainage system (stepped ditch on the ground) to prevent the leakage of radio-nuclides through rainwater;
  • Final drainage of the dump area to protect the foot of the slope and the surface of the dump itself, taking into account surface runoff;
  • Landscaping of affected areas, including the improvement of paths, implementation of a seeding and plantations plan with the use of native species and the substantiation of the signage plan.

This contract was awarded to Conduril – Engenharia, SA for € 1,321,018.77 and had a duration of 180 days.

The investment made was co-financed by the Operational Programme for Territorial Enhancement under the NSRF and enabled the achievement of 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.