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A plan for the remediation of a historic abandoned lead-zinc sulfide mining site (Balya, Balıkesir, Turkey) prepared for the EuropeAid Mining Waste Management Project


In the area around the town of Balya, mining of lead and silver occurs already during times of Pericles. At the end of the 19th century, the French-Turkish "Societé des Mines de Balya Karaydın" operates one of the largest lead-zinc mines in the world, employing 30.000 people at the Balya mine.

Nowadays, the town of Balya has 1500 inhabitants and some ruins of the former ore processing plants in a stream valley with about 50 hectares of barren land covered by toxic mining waste. During a century of exposure to atmospheric oxygen and rainwater, the lead- and zinc- and in particular iron sulfide minerals that were originally present in the mining waste, oxidized to very soluble, acid, metal-sulfate salts. Wildlife disappeared from the area and each year during the wet season, large quantities of persistent toxic metal ions of arsenic, cadmium, copper, mercury, lead and zinc wash into streams for transport down-current, where they poison water reservoir and bird sanctuary.

As part of the europeaid Mining Waste Management project, executed by a Finnish-Hungarian-Turkish consortium on behalf of Turkish government, GeoChemTec had the honor to develop a plan for remediation of the area involving geochemical technology. The proposed remediation aims at restoring the land as best as possible to conditions as they existed before mining activity started, using best available technologies that are economically feasible.


Permeable Reactive Barriers of high efficiency have been developed for the treatment of acid mine- and rock drainage of the remediated abandoned lead-arsenic sulfide mine of Baccu Locci (Villaputzu-San Vito, Sardinia, Italy)


At the remediated mining site of Baccu Locci, Acid Mine Drainage flows from a former mining gallery and Acid Rock Drainage percolates from a newly constructed central disposal site, containing excavated and re-deposited mineral mining waste. The acid mining wastewater contains metal ions at toxic concentrations of tens to hundreds of milligrams per liter, requiring treatment before discharge into River Baccu Locci.

For the steep river valley in the remote mountainous area with semi-arid Mediterranean climate, passive treatment by means of filtration with a compact permeable barrier is required. Montana SpA designs and Integra Srl constructs two installations for an innovative porous mineral granule, developed by GeoChemTec. While supervising the application we successfully demonstrate the efficient immobilization of metals and the effective decrease of concentrations below Italian legal limits for discharge on surface water.


Hazardous mineral waste has been geochemically treated before storage in a Central Disposal Site of the remediated abandoned Baccu Locci lead-arsenic sulfide mine (Villaputzu-San Vito, Sardinia, Italy)


Coarse mining waste rock occurs against steep valley walls at the exit of mining galleries of the abandoned Baccu Locci mining area. Finer-grained mining waste rock and tailings occur downstream at the former ore processing plant and along the braided Baccu Locci River. Toxic heavy metals and arsenic pollute river- and groundwater.

On behalf of the municipalities of Villaputzu and San Vito, Montana SpA designs an impermeable Central Disposal Site for safety storage of a total of approximately 60.000 tons of strongly contaminating solid mineral waste. Integra Srl is responsible for construction of the disposal site and the execution of the remediation works. GeoChemTec developed a geochemical technology for the treatment of the waste. While draglines excavate the mineral waste from the many small deposits within the valley of River Baccu Locci, GeoChemTec takes samples for immediate analysis and characterization of the waste. It calculates appropriate concentrations of mineral reagents and supervises addition and active mixing to truckloads before transport and during redeposition in the central disposal site. Additionally, GeoChemTec developed and supervises the construction of a permeable reactive barrier at the foot of -, and within the Central Disposal Site, used for the pretreatment of any contaminated percolate, before it leaves the site for final treatment in external permeable reactive barriers.