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PREWARC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 517574
Funded under: FP6-INCO
Country: Greece

Cleaning up Western Balkan waters

A significant source of surface and groundwater pollution comes from mining for metal ores and related metallurgical processes. European research has addressed this problem in the Western Balkan Countries (WBCs).
Cleaning up Western Balkan waters
The Western Balkan Peninsula is rich in mineral resources including bauxite, chromite, laterite and coal ore. These are used to produce valuable metals – steel, ferroalloys, aluminium and nickel. The downside to this is that mining these deposits and subsequent metallurgical processes is a major source of pollution in surface and groundwater reservoirs.

The EU-funded Prewarc project has developed an integrated strategic plan to address the environmental problems of mining and subsequent treatment of these ores. The proposal incorporates feasible technological improvements and viable wastewater management options.

Prewarc researchers analysed data collected on the contamination of water resources from mining activity in selected Balkan countries. Input for the resultant proposals also came from remedial technologies already installed in other European countries facing the same or similar pollution problems.

Two workshops were held where stakeholders including industry representatives, members of the educational community, and local and national authorities met in the second year of the project. This assembly also aided the development of the ambitious programme. A project website increased dissemination activities which helped to heighten awareness of local communities as well as decision makers and the media.

The Prewarc report has laid out a plan to implement waste minimisation and prevent surface and groundwater contamination, as well as safeguard the ecosystem of the affected areas. The programme will help scientists and national authorities to manage natural resources through sustainable development.

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