The main results and benefits of the project are related with:
- Gain a better knowledge of the waste products of urnium ore and mine tailings treatment with a view to evaluating the consequences of long-term storage.
- Improve and optimize ore treatment processes by developing new methods (bacteriological, chemical) that reduce sludge production and thereby cut down maintenance to minimum.
- Develop a method for the stabilization of sludge and associated contaminants, so allowing a safe on-site storage.
- Provide for and reduce Acid Mine Drainage by using natural barriers to limit the rate of contaminant leaching and sulphide oxidation.
European uranium mining activities have produced about 800.106 tonnes of mine wastes and mill tailings during the last decades. The companies now have to manage the tailings in order to assure a safe environment for middle and long term.
Various leaching processes have generated specific waste. They all have in common that they contain toxic elements such as radio nuclides, metals, solutions rich in SO4-- and Cl- and sulfides which could generate sulphuric acid. The existence of water treatment if it constitutes a short term solution which enable to generate effluent compatible with the European rules, is not a long term solution. this is also the case for the storage sludges produced by the water treatment.
Two European companies have decided to join their efforts with the support of one scientific research centre in order to elaborate new industrial processes : - for chemical or biological treatment that permit to generate effluent in acceptable technical and economic conditions. - for stabilising mine wastes and mill tailings to decrease toxic element release, - fro stabilising sludge's which enables to store them in old mines.
The elaboration of these industrial processes will be possible only after a detailed knowledge of the source term either the mine waste and the mill tailings and a good knowledge of the process and kinetics of element transfer in waters with time.
The economic and environmental consequences for middle and long term management are significant for the A and B companies and the application could benefit for sites decontamination and rehabilitation in the eastern European countries.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts