Environmental and socioeconomic impacts of surface mining operations: A review of the Greek experience

Francis F. Pavloudakis
Public Power Corporation SA
West Macedonia Lignite Centre, P.O.Box 21, Ptole ais !"2 "", #reece $el%&ax' ()" 2*+)" !2*,-, e. ail' /pa012ol.gr

ABS !A" Surface mining is a vital industrial activit# that sustained the economic growth of Greek energ#$ cement and industrial minerals sectors. %owever$ for numerous groups of interest ever# surface mine is a potential threat for the environment$ pu&lic health and socioeconomic activities. Although the legal and regulator# framework provides mining companies with the &asic directions regarding environmental protection and land reclamation$ the development of a new strateg#$ which should &e &ased on the sustaina&le development principles$ is expected to improve dramaticall# the effectiveness of environmental management actions and to minimi'e the arguments with local authorities and other interested groups. (. )* !+,-" )+* Surface mining operations usuall# are long.term pro/ects that re0uire extremel# high levels of investment. hus$ an# decision concerning the development of a new surface mine should &e &ased on a thorough techno.economical stud#$ which will take into account an# risks and uncertainties related to various geological$ technical$ technological$ geotechnical$ financial$ environmental and political factors. "onsidering in particular environmental risks$ these pla# a significant role in mine planning procedures. ,irect factors are the expenditures related to environmental management during the entire mine lifetime and the financial lia&ilities of the legislation$ while indirect factors are related to the reactions of local authorities. Environmental protection is nowada#s a significant priorit# for the societ#. he citi'ens expect from their governments$ local authorities and the industr# to protect the environment and to inform them a&out the impacts of ever# mining pro/ect on it. herefore$ the environmental management has &ecome a ma/or issue for all mining companies$ which tr# to assess the potential impacts of their operation$ to improve their environmental performance and to meet the standards specified &# the laws and regulations that are in force. 1. E*2)!+*3E* A4 )3PA" S )n Greece$ the legal framework that regulates all these issues was esta&lished relativel# late. he first Environmental Protection Act was voted in the Greek Parliament in (567. he implementation of Environmental )mpact Assessment 8E)A9 process$ which was mentioned in this Act$ was descri&ed in detail in the 3inisterial ,ecision 75175 four #ears later. At that time$ all mining companies faced a lot of difficulties tr#ing to compl# with the new legal status. he paradigm of :est 3acedonia 4ignite "entre$

)n the case of the open.pit lignite mines are complex operations that can affect numerous environmental constituents in various wa#s . he main waste outflows that are potential threats for the soil$ water and air of the surrounding area are listed to the right side of the s#stem &oundaries. )n the examined case$ the mechanisms that are considered to have greater potential of causing environmental damage are the following . Figure ( presents schematicall# the components of the lignite and power production s#stem. )n general$ open. vi"ration # other distur"ances sedimentation ponds Radiations $ischarges from pit protection %ells $ischarges of surface %ater collected in pit $ischarges from &&'P $ischarges from %ater(oil separators urface run)off transport ("elt)conv) transport (truc/s) distri"ution lignite waste lignite waste or irrigation or dust depration damping "ac/filling storage ( "lending %or/shops # other supporting activities transport ("elt)conv) transport (truc/s) mechanical #M electrical #M vehicles #M construction %or/s logistics management # administration R1 'OR1$ AR1A Municipal %aste *sed oils # lu"ricants *sed tires # conv+ "elts *sed "ateries PC.&1) excavation %ith conventional e0uipment Modification of morphology Removal of topsoil Changes in land uses %ater pumping from %ells and pumping stations Particulate matter (fly ash) Air emissions (CxHy.deposit exploration land expropriation system boundaries excavation (%ith . oda#$ significant dela#s still exist due to the &ureaucratic procedure for receiving the exploitation rights of a mineral deposit concession. !Ox) !oise.ardous %aste Old machinery # spare parts Recycla"le materials (e+g+ metals) agricultural.Pavloudakis ? !oumpos$ 1@@A>: − 3odification of morpholog# → changes in h#drological pattern ? loss of wild animal ha&itat ? degradation of landscape value → reduction of propert# value . recreational.-s # other ha. hus$ it was decided the &oundaries of the examined environmental s#stem to include all the mines and power plants. COx. )n addition$ the mines and thermal power plants &elong to the same power utilit#.pit lignite mine and waste outflows released to the environment which received environmental permits ten #ears after the su&mission of the relevant E)A stud#$ is the most appropriate for testif#ing the situation.pit mining complex of Ptolemais the entire 0uantit# of the produced lignite is fed to thermal power plants located at distances of a few kilometers. etc activities of the local communities ash to the Po%er Plant electricity Figure (: 3ain components of an open.Sengupta$ (55<$ "larke$ (55=>. Ox. *evertheless$ all mining and 0uarr#ing pro/ects are necessar# to su&mit an E)A stud# and to operate following the Environmental Permits that have &een approved &# the regulator# authorit#.

integration of the distur&ed areas into the landscape. he usuall# applied thickness of topsoil cover is a&out =@cm. )f this is impossi&le$ temporar# stockpiling of topsoil is suggested. Periodic irrigation$ topsoil &lending with ash or selected over&urden seams and use of fertilisers are some techni0ues that can accelerate revegetation.istur&ances 8noise$ vi&rations$ etc9 → life 0ualit# degradation ? reduction of propert# value !adiations → danger for human health . :aste. Finall#$ revegetation is carried out using plant material taken from tree nurseries. <.=@cm9 the contents of P1+=$ potassium$ calcium and magnesium accessi&le to plants must also &e determined.off → loss of incomes ? water pollution Particulate matter 8fl# ash9 → air pollution → life 0ualit# degradation Air emissions 8"x%#$ "+x$ S+x$ *+x9 → air pollution → life 0ualit# degradation ? contri&ution to greenhouse effect . Furthermore$ the rational environmental management of mine sites is closel# related to the protection of water &odies degraded &# mining.off and discharges from surface water collected in pit → suspended solids in streams → a0uatic life distur&ance ? floods ? degradation of potential water uses . he# usuall# &elong to native species in order to ensure that a high percentage of the planted material will finall# grow. rees are planted with a narrow spacing. he use of four sampling points per hectare is suggested.rock surfaces must &e sampled and anal#sed for identif#ing the acidification grade$ the total sulphur content and total alkalinit# content.ischarges from pit protection wells → drop of water ta&le ? increased flow in streams → irrigation pro&lems ? floods ? degradation of potential water uses Surface run.rock dumping$ surface contouring$ topsoil spreading and revegetation. For deep samples 8A@.)A4 E*2)!+*3E* A4 3A*AGE3E* A" )+*S )* S-!FA"E 3)*)*G S) ES First priorit# of ever# land reclamation programme is the rapid re.ischarges from waste water treatment plants and water B oil separators → pollution and contamination of a0uatic receivers → a0uatic life distur&ance ? degradation of potential water uses )mproper management of municipal and specialBha'ardous waste → increased concentration of toxic su&stances in soils B waters ? aesthetic pro&lems → degradation of the potential land and water uses → life 0ualit# degradation ? danger for human health. !E3E. can &e more effective. Based on the results of those anal#ses$ decisions relevant to the need of topsoil spreading$ the t#pe of trees that must &e planted$ the t#pe and 0uantities of fertili'ers and soil amendments that must &e spread$ etc.− − − − − − − − − opsoil removal → loss of agricultural land ? increased surface run. 4and reclamation implies waste. %owever$ there are cases where there is no need of topsoil$ while in other cases a ( m thick la#er is inade0uate to support 0uick and lasting vegetation. As far as the formation of a topsoil cover is concerned$ the &est practice is the direct transport of topsoil from an active mining area to the reclaimed surface. Ever# mining compan# should have developed a water protection strateg# that should &e integrated with the programme of . P!E2E* )2E A*.

For this reason$ an# proposal for further development of mining sites is either re/ected or it is accepted after setting a series of terms and conditions.consuming procedure that is normall# come to an end in the "ourt$ which determines the unit prices for the different components of private properties 8land$ trees$ fences$ irrigation wells$ etc9 that will &e destructed due to excavations or waste dumping. A. − -p to now$ the resettlement of villages is considered as an alternative for surface mines development onl# if lignite deposits are located under inha&ited areas. !ecreation o !esidential 8relocation of villages9 − "ulture o 4ifest#le o Population densit# o Archaeological sites ? monuments − %ealth and safet# )n the case of the Greek lignite surface mines the socioeconomic issues that &rought the mining enterprise into conflict with local authorities was: resettlement of villages and land expropriation . transportation9 − Econom# o Emplo#ment o 3one# inflow to local econom# − "hange of land uses o Farmland o Gra'ing o ourism .Pavloudakis et al$ 1@@7:1>. − he expropriation of the land re0uired for the development of a new surface mine is a time. )n these cases the mining compan# is o&liged to pa# compensations for ever# private propert# and for pu&lic &uildings and infrastructures.g.the local or regional watershed management authorit#. For numerous groups of interest$ including local authorities$ cham&ers$ ecological organi'ations$ etc$ a mine is a potential threat for the environment$ pu&lic health and socioeconomic activities that interfere with it. 3oreover$ the compan# must cooperate with local authorities for the selection of the site$ where the communit# will &e resettled$ and for the development of new infrastructures that will allow earl# move of people to the new village. S+")+E"+*+3)" )3PA" S A ma/or issue that is alwa#s investigated during decision. According to recent "ourt /udgements$ the compensation of the . )n general$ the development of a surface mine affects the socioeconomic activities of local communities &# the following wa#s: − !educed access to pu&lic utilities 8e. 3ining activities must not interfere with existing plans that tr# to maintain ade0uate suppl# of freshwater of suita&le 0ualit# for human use and to support a0uatic and other ecos#stems .making procedures regarding the development of surface mines is pu&lic protest. %owever$ during the last #ears there is a continuousl# growing pressure from communities that claim for resettlement due to the violation of their life standards caused &# the various impacts of surface mining.Pavloudakis ? !oumpos$ 1@@A>.

mentioned conflicts can &e overcome if local authorities are involved in decision. here$ all pu&lic interest groups and private citi'ens can express their opposition and stop the environmental permits approval.selection studies for landfills and other waste management facilities &ut also in cases of mining activities. +&viousl#$ this procedure does not favour the active participation of pu&lic interest groups in the ela&oration of E)A studies. +n the contrar#$ these pu&lic groups often attend the meeting of the Prefecture "ouncil and su&mit studies that reach to the opposite conclusion$ leading the entire process to failure and causing significant dela#s to the mine development pro/ect . )n 3a# 1@@<$ the mem&ers of )nternational "ouncil on 3ining ? 3etals 8)"339 committed themselves to implement and measure their performance against (@ sustaina&le development principles.land owners is calculated &ased on the propert# items that are found in each piece of land$ no matter when and how these items were placed in it.land management programme is closel# related to the efficienc# of certain measures that must &e applied during the active mining period. hese principles$ which provide to the mining and metal companies a process framework for moving things towards sustaina&ilit#$ are the following . Guidelines for 3ultinational Enterprises$ the :orld Bank +perational Policies$ etc.)"33$ 1@@E:($ 1>: − )mplement and maintain ethical &usiness practices and sound s#stems of corporate governance − )ntegrate sustaina&le development considerations within the corporate decision. he use of this legal right &# local authorities is a routine in cases of site. herefore$ the development of a procedure that allows periodical review of the applied measures is necessar#. =. )n practise$ the level of pu&lic involvement can range from awareness to active participation in pro/ect planning activities . making process − -phold fundamental human rights and respect cultures$ customs and values in dealings with emplo#ees and others who are affected &# mining activities − )mplement risk management strategies &ased on valid data and sound science − Seek continual improvement of health and safet# performance .van D#l et al$ 1@@<>. %owever$ according to the regulations of the Greek legislative framework$ pu&lic involvement is possi&le onl# during the discussion of the E)A stud# in the Prefecture "ouncil. )deall#$ pu&lic involvement is a continuous communication process that keeps the pu&lic informed a&out the potential impacts of a pro/ect and$ at the same time$ allows a feed&ack from citi'ens to pu&lic officials and to people$ who are involved in the mine planning and exploitation processes. %E "+*"EP +F S-S A)*AB4E 3)*E ECP4+) A )+* According to the information presented a&ove$ the efficienc# of a mine.3anoliadis$ 1@@1>.making processes.Pavloudakis et al$ 1@@7:(>. Pu&lic participation ena&les productive use of inputs and perceptions from local authorities$ pu&lic interest groups and private citi'ens. he (@ principles were developed &# &enchmarking against other leading glo&al standards including: the (551 !io .eclaration$ the Glo&al !eporting )nitiative$ the +E". he a&ove. his procedure can &e &ased on a series of economic$ environmental$ and social indicators$ which are representative of the monitored s#stem$ have a scientific &asis$ are 0uantifia&le$ without social &ias$ and represent managea&le processes .

o Processing capacit# 8smelting$ refining$ and transportation9. o "ultural$ social$ and spiritual needs. o !ecreation and tourism. 7. − Economic$ cultural and social &enefits 8(@ indicators9 o 4ocal.use$ rec#cling and disposal of mining and metal products − "ontri&ute to the social$ economic and institutional development of the local communities − )mplement effective and transparent engagement$ communication and independentl# verified reporting arrangements with stakeholders. o E0uit# 8povert# levels9 − 4egal and institutional framework 86 indicators9 o 4egal o )nstitutional o Economic framework Sustaina&ilit# indicators are useful as anal#tical$ explanator#$ communication$ planning$ and performance assessment tools that turn vast amounts of anal#'ed data into meaningful and relevant information. o 3anagement of extraction and processing. − Environmental 0ualit# 8E indicators9 o Am&ient environment. )n this wa#$ sustaina&ilit# criteria and indicators ma# contri&ute to a via&le future of mining industr#$ recognising the essential role of metals and minerals for modern living. o *ational. o -se of energ# and minerals.criteria . hese indicators allow a holistic comparative anal#sis$ which takes into account numerous economic$ environmental$ social and political aspects of surface mines development$ operation and closure. "+*"4-S)+*S Environmental protection and land reclamation are widel# recognised as ke#. o Environmental releases. o Production 8extractive9 capacit#.van D#l et al$ 1@@<>: − "apacit# to produce commodities 8(< indicators9 o !esources o Exploration capacit#.elements for the development of ever# surface mining activit#.− Seek continual improvement of environmental performance − "ontri&ute to conservation of &iodiversit# and integrated approaches to land use planning − Facilitate and encourage responsi&le product design$ use$ re. Furthermore$ Sustaina&le 3ining !oundta&le 8S3!9$ an open colla&oration scheme sponsored &# -S Forest Services and -S Geological Surve#$ has proposed a series of indicators that cover a &road range of attri&utes of energ# and minerals s#stems. Although the legal framework that is currentl# in force regulates effectivel# most of the relevant issues$ some pro&lems . o !eclamationBremediationBrestoration of extraction sites. he indicators are organised &ased on four criteria and (6 su&.

Environmental Planning: Stud# ? Assessment of Environmental )mpacts.pit lignite mines.unr. 81@@7:(9. )"33$ 81@@E:(9.(EE. 1nd )ntl. Sustaina&le 3inerals !oundta&le. 3anoliadis$ +. 1@@7.$ Galetakis 3. Annual !eview 1@@7: Setting the standards to meet the challenge of sustaina&le development$ )ntl. Sengupta$ 3. 3oreover$ the development of an environmental management strateg#$ which will &e &ased on &oth remedial and preventive actions$ starting from the earl# stages of mine development$ is possi&le to improve the overall environmental performance of a mine. Evaluation of land reclamation and environmental protection strategies in open.$ 81@@<9.$ Shields .11 Sept. !EFE!E*"ES "larke$ 4.A6@ Pavloudakis$ F. Also$ it allows the development of processes that support the monitoring and periodic evaluation of the environmental management strateg# and the decision making as far as the optimal mine development strateg# is concerned.eduB minesBsmr. "onf. 8(55<9.1E Sept. )"33$ 81@@E:19. Environmental impacts assessment of surface mining operations: A review of the Greek experience.$ Galetakis 3.$ Sachanidis ".$ !oumpos ". )on Pu&lications 8in Greek9. Pavloudakis$ F. "ouncil on 3ining ? 3etals .. www. 81@@19. "oal 3ining and water 0ualit#$ )EA 8)nternational Energ# Agenc#9 . 1@@7$ pp.$ !oumpos ". S#mposium of 3ine Planning ? E0uipment Selection$ orino$ )tal#$ 1@. 81@@7:19.(( Gune 1@@A$ pp.S. "onf. on Advances in 3ineral !esources 3anagement and Environmental Geotechnolog#$ %ania$ Greece$ 1=.$ :agner 4. 81@@A9. -.$ 8(55=9. 2an D#l .16.still exist. (=th )ntl. "oal !esearch$ 4ondon$ -F..1@. he implementation of techni0ues that make possi&le the guided pu&lic involvement in the impact assessment procedure is an option that can reduce dramaticall# the protests against plans for the development of new mines. )"33$ 4ondon$ p.B. on Advances in 3ineral !esources 3anagement and Environmental Geotechnolog#$ %ania$ Greece$ 5. Environmental )mpacts of 3ining: 3onitoring$ !estoration and "ontrol$ "!" Press$ p.(61. )"33$ 4ondon$ p. Sustaina&le . =(1. )ntl. "ritical environmental and social parameters affecting the development of new surface mines. Pavloudakis$ F. AE<. "ouncil on 3ining ? 3etals .evelopment Framework: :orking together to improve industr# performance$ )ntl. .$ !oumpos ". he use of a methodolog# that incorporates the main principles of sustaina&ilit# allows further the assessment of all environmental threats associated with the mine operation throughout its life c#cle.