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INTREAT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 509167
Funded under: FP6-INCO
Country: Greece

Mineral mining without pollution

Wastes from mining have harmed ecosystems in upcoming EU nations in the Western Balkans. One ambitious EU project has already started reversing the damage.
Mineral mining without pollution
Untapped resources in the Balkan region include significant mineral deposits, but their exploitation could harm the environment. The EU-funded project Intreat sought to minimise air, land and water pollution from mining.

To achieve its aims the project studied how mining and metallurgy affected the environment, evaluating risks to humans as well. It sought to develop preventive technologies to mitigate pollution by eliminating waste and revitalising polluted areas.

The project team chose the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia as pilot countries to conduct tests, especially where ecosystems have been damaged by such activity. The areas were then categorised according to environmental factors and impact. Subsequently, the team outlined a legal framework to provide guidelines and quality standards for treating and managing waste and wastewater, using the framework to evaluate relevant project proposals.

Intreat proposed technologies to mitigate pollution from hazardous waste sites and rehabilitate areas where the soil, water or ground were polluted. It assessed available options in terms of technical feasibility and cost, selecting the most appropriate ones for the region. Lastly, the project proposed specific options to treat industrial wastewater caused from copper mining and processing.

One of the most important outcomes of the project is the formulation of an integrated environmental management strategy set to help the Balkans tackle pollution in the mining sector. With a breakthrough in high-tech innovations and scientific results, Intreat has supported compliance of the Western Balkans in line with EU environmental codes. It has helped FYROM and Serbia improve their policies in the sector and provided them with valuable tools that will make eventual EU integration easier.

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