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MANAGEMENT OF LEACH RESIDUES AND METALLIC WASTE EMISSIONS FROM TREPCA IN MITROVICA, KOSOVO

AUTHOR/S: I. KRASNIQI, F. SHALA, S. BERISHA-SHALA
Sunday 1 August 2010 by Libadmin2009

9th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference - SGEM2009, www.sgem.org, SGEM2009 Conference Proceedings/ ISBN 10: 954-91818-1-2, June 14-19, 2009, Vol. 2, 563-570 pp

ABSTRACT

According to an multidisciplinary approach based on survey, analysis and labor work,
this study work attempts to tease out some valuable lessons, strategies and guidelines
which should be connected to environmental management in Kosovo, a new born state
with no effective environmental management in the past. The study focuses on the
environmental impact that a huge dormant lead and zinc mining facility, named Trepca
causes.

The fact that Kosovo is very rich with sulphide minerals shows the potential for mine
water pollution of the environment, especially with heavy metals. Mining areas are
significantly degraded and contaminated. The pollution is the combined result of mining
and natural leaching from ore bodies, and has a negative effect on health and the quality
of life of local residents. The most difficult situation is in the vicinity of the Trepca
mines, where most of the pollution is caused by ore processing plants and release of
wastewater from flotation plants into nearby rivers and/or tailing lakes with
inadequately constructed protection dams.

The investigations have thus focused on to determine the extent of the heavy metal
pollution of the nearby areas as well river and found that the mining waste is still a very
significant source of heavy metal pollution to the river, where the levels of in particular
lead and cadmium were found to many times higher than WHO standards.

Based on the results of this it is argued that the heavy metal contamination of the area
presents a significant health risk to the local population who lives there. The work
analyses several possible solutions for better environmental management of Trepca and
mining in general in the future. The work study also compare the situation in past with
existing one and propose solution for future.

Through a comparison of similar cases in other transition countries experiences it is
argued that most important think is to focus on economical development issues such
as economic growth, but always having in mind that has not to be at the expense of the
environment. Bearing in mind the present situation Kosovo and the scope and
complexity of steps needed to clean up the polluted areas and remediate the degraded
land and having in mind that there is a lack of knowledge on advanced methods for
mine waste treatment the research studies are crucial.

Explicitly it means that if a clean up of Trepca is prioritized, despite its large financial
costs, it is possible that it will present some win-win situations where both
environmental objectives and economic objectives are fulfilled.

Keywords: leach residuals, contamination, mining waste, lead, zinc, environment, pollution