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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article14 November 2022European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency1 min read

Innovative techniques for mine restoration

LIFE16 ENV/ES/000159
LIFE16 ENV/ES/000159. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

LIFE TECMINE set out to improve the restoration of open pit mines in Mediterranean forest areas by combining different techniques.

Mining in Europe supplies other industrial sectors with the raw materials needed for the production of materials we use every day. However, mining operations are often carried out over areas of high landscape and ecological value, changing them drastically, altering the landscape and almost completely destroying the impacted ecosystems. There are about 500 mining sites in the Valencia Community, of which 85% impact forest land.

The team behind LIFE TECMINE restored more than 13 hectares of the Fortuna mine – a silica sand, kaolin and clay mine – in Ademuz, Valencia. They used a method called GeoFluvTM, which produces a natural-looking landscape that, together with other ecological restoration techniques, has improved different habitats and a high species biodiversity by efficiently managing natural resources, mainly water.

Substrates and mixtures of mine waste and organic matter from activities such as forestry and wastewater treatment were used to help stabilise the soil, with herbaceous plants sown and wood chips put down to protect against erosion.

‘LIFE TECMINE showed that it’s possible to implement more efficient and sustainable restoration models, thus contributing to more responsible mining,’ said project coordinator Juan Uriol Batuecas 

Replication work at three sites in Spain during the project also restored a further 14 hectares.

The demonstration of innovative techniques has enabled other mining companies to replicate the model in their restorations. In fact, the project’s work is being replicated in other parts of Spain and Sweden.

Also, the team’s dissemination of results has improved the general perception of mining.

Find out more in the project’s layman’s report.

LIFE TECMINE contributes to the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Nature Restoration Law.