Guarda and Pinhel (Municipalities)
3,181,132.67 €
2015 - 2015

Environmental Remediation of the Prado Velho Mining Area


The former Prado Velho mine is located in the civil parish of São Pedro do Jamelo e Pínzio in the municipalities of Guarda and Pinhel, district of Guarda.

It was mined for uranium from 1976 to 1982 and was, initially, an underground mine. However, for technical and economic reasons, it was converted to an open pit mine. At the same time, another open pit was created in the NW part of the deposit, which was levelled. The larger pit, which occupies an area of around 18,000 m², is partially flooded, with around 70,000 m³ of retained water. Around 35,211 tons of ore were extracted with an average U3O8 content of 0.16%, which produced 59,655 kg of U3O8.

The contract for the environmental remediation of the Prado Velho mine, which also included Forte Velho mine and the former Barracão Radium Factory, consisted of the following main activities:

  • Preparation of the pit for filling;
  • Total filling of the pit with materials from the surrounding spoil heaps;
  • Creation of a confined disposal site for materials from other mines and materials resulting from the decontamination of the area around the Former Barracão Factory (total of 255,000 m³);
  • Maintenance of the water surface inside the pit, with a total capacity of 18,000 m³;
  • Recovery of the landscape.

Around 209,904 m³ of local soils were transported to the confined disposal site created in the pit, plus around 2,200 m³ of masonry, brick and concrete demolition material from the structures/ruins of Prado Velho, Forte Velho and Barracão Factory, which were crushed at Prado Velho in a mobile crushing unit. An additional 50,000 m³ of material from other mines and around 21,500 m³ from surface capping (clay + crushed stone + soil + topsoil) were also added to this total. Around 255,000 m3 were packed into the pit.

The total area occupied by the disposal of material is 14,200 m². The height above ground, after capping, varies between 3 and 5 m, with the highest point being located at the north end.

This contract was awarded to Oliveiras Empreiteiros, SA for 3,159,628.58 (including Forte 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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