Guarda (Municipality)
3,181,132.66 €
2015 - 2015

Environmental Remediation of the Forte Velho Mining Area


The former Forte Velho mine is located in the civil parish of Guarda (Sé), municipality and district of Guarda.

The underground mining was carried out on two floors, at depths of 30 and 60 m and galleries with a total length of 265 m. The production itself was around 1,359 Kg of U3O8, contained in 417.5 tons of ore with an average U3O8 content of 0.33%. The start of operations at the Senhora das Fontes mine coincided with the end of operations at the Forte Velho mine, with some material from that mine having been transported to this treatment plant for leaching tests, as evidenced by the presence in the heap of lixiviation material of areas with schist fragments.

This mine was the first at which a pilot static lixiviation plant was established, which was later moved to Senhora das Fontes. The remains of lixiviation cells are still visible.

The environmental remediation work at the Forte Velho mine, included in that of the Prado Velho and Barracão Former Radium Factory, consisted of the following main activities:

  • Demolition and debris removal from the former buildings and lixiviation floors for confined disposal;
  • Removal of spoil heaps to the confined disposal site;
  • Cleaning and removal of contaminated surface materials to the confined disposal site at Prado Velho;
  • Capping and enclosure of mine shafts and galleries;
  • Forming of the area and landscaping.

This contract was awarded to Oliveiras Empreiteiros, SA for 3,159,628.58 (including Prado Velho and the Former Barracão Radium Factory) 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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