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7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

DOI: 10.7251/BMC170702235H



Edmond HOXHA1, Ekita FETAHU2, Ruke QAUSHI3

Department of Mineral Resources, Faculty of Geology and Mine, Polytechnic University of Tirana,
Rr. Elbasanit, Tirana, ALBANIA; E-mail:;
Mining Department, National Agency of Natural Resource E-mail:;
Environmental expert G & G Group E-mail:;


The protection of natural resource is of a very high priority for Albania. "Dajti" Park is one of the most
important areas in Albania due to the rich heritage and diversity of wildlife. This is due to the specific
position (latitude and altitude above sea level), the diversity of its natural landscapes, plant
associations, and variations on traditional land cultivation, which have shaped today's natural scenery.
Many areas of the "Dajti" National Park are of a national and international conservation importance,
with some species found only in a few habitats around the world. This paper presents damages in
"Dajti" National Park in Tirana, Albania caused specifically by mining exploitation (opencast mine).
The exploitation and granting of permits without clear criteria and no consultation with community
have caused damages to the landscape, flora and fauna, forests, air and water, soil, putting at the same
time in danger the life of the community. The paper identifies damages, presents digital map of
damages area, using GIS technology. The paper proposes also the rehabilitation scheme, and gives
recommendation for decision makers for future actions.

Key words: Environment protection, mining, GIS!


Mountain of Dajti, in Albania reaches a height of 1613 meters. Located about 26 km from
Tirana there are about 26 species of woods and shrubs that cover about 80% of the area. In
addition to vegetation Mali Dajti is also distinguished by the diversity of wildlife and wildlife.
The National Park "Mali i Dajtit" lies in the mountain ranges of Scanderbeg, mainly in the
district of Tirana, with little touch on the district of Kruja. This Park has an area of 29384.18
ha, extending into a totally mountainous terrain, starting at 300 meters high and reaching the
highest, the peak of Mceks of Saint Mary at an altitude of about 1827m. The specific
representatives of Flora and Fauna are: Beech, oaks, pines, chestnuts, wild cherries,
blackheads, blackheads, hornbeams, sea basses, sharks, etc. As far as the fauna of Dajti
Mountain are concerned, there are: White bear, wolf, fox, wild boar, coat of arms, squirrel,
squirrel, iris, bats (several species), turtles, eagles, falconers (some species) the mountain, the
wild dove, the woodpecker, the lamb, the whale, and many kinds of reptiles and flies. Within

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

the area of Mali i Dajti there are cultural, religious sites, such as: Dajti Castle (Cultural
Monument); The Old Bridge in Brar; Mosque and Infrastructure Objects such as: Cable Car
of Tirana - Dajti; Visitor Center; Tirana Water Supply and Bovilla Water Collection.
Nowadays the National Park is endangered by external human influences, such as: (1)
Fragmentation and loss of habitat; (2) Uncontrolled grazing; (3) Uncontrolled cutting of trees
from a largely rural population; (4) Exploitation of minerals; (5) Uncontrolled hunting;
Murder and persecution of animals; (6) Increasing and out of control of tourism; (7) Fires; (8)
Industrial activities.

Figure 1. View of Dajti mountain


The mining works developed at the National Park of Dajti Mountain are open cast and
underground works. Surface works are quarrying (quarrying) in order to extract construction
materials. Underground works are tunnels, developed for the purpose of crossing the pipelines
of the power plant and water supply of Tirana (Fig.2).

Figure 2. Qafë Priskë opencast mine and tunnel of Tirana water supply

Until now, there are some opencast mines working at the Dajti National Park for lime stone
extraction. At present they have planted the mountain near Priska peak..
Practically, an environmental massacre continues to be carried out in this area. Heavy
machinery eradicates Dajti National Park every day. This environmental massacre can be
clearly distinguished even in "Google Maps", where areas that have been stripped of forests
appear (Fig.3a). The Dajti National Park has been proclaimed a government decision since
2006 as a protected area (Fig.3,4).

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017


The Dajti National Park, proclaimed by a Government Decision in 2006, as a protected area,
is being destroyed every day by opencast mines that are being exploited massively and
stripping the mountain slopes from greening. For years it has been discussed about the
removal of mining activities from the Park, but instead of being reduced, they have been
added. The quarry damage in the Dajti National Park is colossal. (Fig.4). In fact, there are 6
damaged areas numbered by (1-6), including the small lake of Qafë Priska. (Fig.6)
The main damages are as follows: Air Quality: Due to mass explosions, heavy machinery
works in areas where mining works are built up large dust that is deposited in the surrounding
forests, agricultural lands meanwhile hurt the health of people.

Figure 3. Satellit image of Figure 4.

opencast mines in Dajti View of opencast mines in back part of Dajti Mountin
[Source: Google Earth];

Water quality: Due to the exploitation of opencast mines near them are deposited stockyards
that slid into the water springs and small lakes of the area causing their pollution, damaging
the quality of water used for livestock but also for agriculture.
Landscape: Landscape damage is very serious. Throughout the area are created pits, abysses
and new stocks that have changed the natural profile of the mountain. Figure 5 shows two
images of the damaged area in 2003 and 2017, where it is clearly the major damage caused.

Figure 5. Images of the damaged area of 2003 and 2016 [Source: Google Earth]

Forest Damage: Comparison between the two images of 2003 and 2017 shows a damage to a
very large area of forests mainly with shrubs and small trees. Figure 6 shows the comparison
of two images of damaged areas. It is clear that damage has increased triple over the years and
the lack of rehabilitation measures.

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

2003 2003 2017




Figure 6. Comparison of damaged areas, 2003 and 2017

Damage to pastures and vegetation: Due to massive outbreaks and mountain erosion, the
pastures have also been severely damaged. Likewise, the pollution of the small lake of Qafë
Priska has caused concerns for the livestock farmers who use this lake for their livestock. The
vegetation is very small. Dasts is the main cause of vegetation breakdown in this area, as well
as dumping unnecessary soils. Tourism Damage: Before developing these works the
landscape was very interesting. Now there are only abysses, pits, and dusts deposited without
criteria. Damage to Flora and Fauna: A large number of plants have been destroyed by
excavation and deposit of deposited soil. While due to noise, massive outbreaks, water and air

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

pollution, many animals have left the area, bringing the impoverishment of the fauna and flora
of the area. Acoustic pollution: From a quiet and relaxed area, Priska's Neck has turned into a
noisy pitch where the noise level is out of any standard, thus causing the disturbance of
tranquility and natural equilibrium. Major explosions in winter time can also be the cause for
the creation of avalanches and slides. Well-being and health of the inhabitants: All this
destruction of the environment certainly has a negative impact on the residents of the area,
who have lost their former tranquility. The area is depleted by the tourist and its natural


Given the experience of using GIS in similar cases, the ArcGIS 10.3 program was used to
build Digital Maps. Some of the steps followed by problem identification to the final map of
the damaged areas are as follows: (1) Collection of existing materials; (2) Determining the
location of open cast mines; (3) Contact with state institutions; (4) Field visits and
measurements (point coordinates were taken with GPS Garmin Oregon 600t; (5) Layout of
field data in ArcGIS 10.3 and BaseCamp; (6) Building GIS maps for damaged areas,
Protected Areas, Mining Licenses, etc. The following are the GIS and BaseCamp maps of the
area: Protected Areas; Mining Licenses; Plant Cover; Damaged Areas and a Comparative
Image of 2003 and 20017 (Figure 7,8,9 ). As can be seen from the Mining Permit Maps,
almost all the part that is used by the quarries is located within the protected area.

Figure 7. Figure 8. Harta e Zonave të Figure 9.

Harta BaseCamp mbrojtura, Lejeve të Shfrytëzimit Harta e Zonave të mbrojtura,
dhe mbulesës tokësore Lejeve të Shfrytëizimit


Due to the severe environmental situation in the National Park of Dajti Mountain, urgent
rehabilitation measures are needed. Practically, rehabilitation of a small part of the
environment is mainly affected by what appears to the public (Fig.10). Rehabilitation
measures should include: (1) Soil transport; (2) Soil and stockpiling; (3) Covering stocks with
and as well as shrub and grass planting; (4) Scale opening; (5) Digging and filling; (6) In
order to preserve the flora and fauna, there should be ambushes and walls to prevent eventual
leakage of the soil as a result of precipitation and consequently the discharge of sterols into
the waters (streams, watersheds, lakes); (7) Planting of seedlings is recommended for slope

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

Figure 10. Figure 11.

Damaged areas. Year 2003 (red), Year 2007 (yellow) Rehabilitated opencast mining area


Conclusions: (1) The scale of environmental damage due to mining in Albania is extremely
high and extends across the country. These damaged areas require the taking of urgent
technical and administrative measures to eliminate irreparable consequences in the future; (2)
The existing legal framework for environmental protection from mining is not correctly
applied and therefore does not provide for effective protection of the environment; (3) The
mining exploitation methods do not sufficiently consider the protection of the environment
from mining; (4) Mining risk to human life and the environment due to mining is evident,
high risk and neglected by everyone. (5) Damage to the environment, water, infrastructure,
forests, agricultural lands, flora and fauna in the National Park of Dajti Mountain is very high,
affects a considerable area and requires emergency interventions; (6) Figure 9 shows that the
level of quarry expansion, Zone 2, has reached nearly half the height of the mountain. This is
a period of about 14 years. If these works will continue with this rythmes after about 20 years,
the opencast mine will reach the top of Mount Dajti.
Recommendations: (1) It is recommended to immediately stop the mining activity in the
National Park of Dajti Mountain in the Protected Area; (2) It is recommended to conduct a
full scientific study to determine the exact level of damages caused to the National Park of
Dajti Mountain, and to take environmental rehabilitation measures, reforestation, animal
breeding and conservation, reservoirs, cleaning of water. (3) It is necessary to set up a Task
Force to monitor the implementation of the existing Law on Mines, Environment and
Protected Areas, with the objective of preserving the environment in accordance with
European Union norms; (4) It is recommended to draft and approve new mining quarrying
methods and regulations.


[2] Google earth
[3] Hoxha E "Sistemet e Informacionit Gjeografik (GIS)";
[4] Hoxha E "Mbrojtja dhe rehabilitimi i ambientit të dëmtuar nga shfrytëzimi minerar";
[5] DHV, IDA, HRM, Qeveria Shqiptare "Plani i Menaxhimit të Parkut Kombëtar të Malit të Dajtit" 2004.