Serbia has put in place the Cadastre of Mining Waste, following a project implemented by the Ministry of Mining and Energy, and supported financially by the European Union
The project, worth 2.1 million euros, was implemented in the period from February 2017 to January 2020, and successfully achieved the main project goal of further developing and improving the system for managing mining waste in Serbia. Representatives of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Serbia and members of the project team, which was led by a consortium of German companies PLEJADES and DMT, presented the project’s results and methodology, as well as the importance of this project for the Serbian mining industry and the impact of this project on the environment, to interested stakeholders, including companies, organisations and media representatives, in Belgrade on 17th January.
Project Team Leader Dr. Peter Bayer said he was satisfied with the results achieved, whilst highlighting the complexity of the project: “The challenge was the large number of sites across Serbia to be visited and later investigated, the sheer volume of data to be managed, documented in comprehensive reports and maps, and introduced into the data base we programmed. Despite the technical and operational complexity of the project, our team – comprising over 40 national and international experts – succeeded in completing the project in a rather short period of time,” noted Bayer.
An inventory presented in the form of a web application and a book entitled “Cadastre of Mining Waste” features systematically collected and compiled data of 250 abandoned mining waste sites. It also contains the results of a detailed investigation of 41 abandoned mining waste sites with detailed information from chemical, mineralogical, geomechanial and laboratory analyses, as well as conclusions based on those investigations and analyses, which characterise the mining waste and assess its impact on the environment and human health.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Dragana Jelisavac Erdeljan, Head of the Department for Mining at the Serbian Ministry of Mining and Energy, said: “with the results obtained from the field and with labaratory results in place, the Ministry will be equipped with sound documentation so it can be possible for it to react in an appropriate manner in the case of remediation, rehabilitation and re-cultivation of mining waste facilities that are critical for the environment or human health.”
Jelisavac Erdeljan also announced that, starting as of this year, the new Decree to regulate mining waste management in Serbia will come into force. “Mining companies are given a period of two years to align their operations with the Decree. The outputs and experience gained during this project, such as the new Manual for Inspectors, visits to mining waste sites in Germany, exchanges of experience and best practices with colleagues from active mines, closed or abandoned mining sites, with colleagues from institutions in charge of remediation and monitoring of those locations in Germany, will certainly represent a valuable contribution to the implementation of activities envisaged by the Decree.
Boris Ilijevski, Head of Section III (energy, environment, transport and agriculture), Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, also spoke at the conference, saying: ”the EU is the main partner of Serbia in protecting the environment. All our projects are designed and implemented to have a positive impact on environmental protection and citizen’s quality of life. Over the past 19 years, the EU donated 402 million euros to Serbia for environmental protection.”
Ilijevski also said that, with the “Cadastre of Mining Waste” project, the EU is assisting Serbia in the development of an inventory comprising some 500 mining sites and added that such information serves as a starting point for the actions of ministries and local governments toward the mitigating of risks, mining waste management or further use, if possible, by companies that exploit mineral resources. In conclusion, Ilijevski emphasised that local communities and people living near such mining waste sites would be the immediate beneficiaries of all of this.