In Poland, research will focus on the Rydułtowy-Anna mining complex of Kompania Węglowa S.A., which is partly being abandoned and the rest will be in the process of closure during the execution of this project. In the case of HUNOSA, research will focus on Pumarabule and Mosquitera complex which have already been abandoned. Hulleras del Norte started the flooding process in Pumarabule and Mosquitera in 2012, and it is expected that the water will reach the security level during the first half of 2015 (the level that maintains the phreatic level in the safe area). At that time pumping will start and the water level will be allowed to increase little by little in order to monitor its behaviour.
The MERIDA project execution is scheduled over 48 months and includes five work packages plus the project coordination:
This is the work package in which all the coordination tasks are included: overall technical coordination of the project, organisation and management of meetings, distribution of technical data and information among partners, preparation of minutes and integration of reports and administrative issues, including relations with EC. This work package also covers the design, implementation and maintenance of the project website.
GIS TOOL DEVELOPMENT, COLLECTION AND ORGANISATION OF DATA
The general objective of this work package is to establish the framework for the collection and compilation of relevant data related to environmental impacts during the coal mine closure and post-closure stages. In addition, it will establish the risk criteria that will be used as benchmark for environmental risk assessment. Different operational, geological and environmental conditions relevant to European coal mines will be considered and a dedicated spatial data management and visualization tool will be designed. The objectives of this work package are:
To prepare a full description of the Polish and Spanish coal mines being assessed and collect relevant data as well as historical information on environmental incidents and their impacts.
To conduct a survey of experiences and related environmental impacts and risks following underground coal mine closures across Europe, aimed at generalising the management system developed under then last objective.
To define the risk assessment criteria for each environmental impact category considered.
To design and make available to the partner coal mines a dedicated Geographic Information System (GIS) database to manage the necessary mine, geological and environmental data, which will also be used to manage information input to following work packages.
DEVELOPMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT MODELS
The general objective of this work package is to develop site specific issue based models to evaluate quantitatively the environmental impacts during coal mine closure and post-closure periods in different European coal mining regions and, using these models, demonstrate the functionality of the GIS based environmental management system developed in Work Package 1. The objectives of this work package are:
To use geomechanical and surface deformation modelling methods to evaluate the subsidence potential for the selected Kompania Węglowa S.A. and HUNOSA mine; validate and assess modelling results; consider modelling uncertainty given historical and newly collected monitoring data; identify the structures/receptors at risk and evaluate the environmental risk exposure.
To use hydrological modelling software to simulate groundwater flow and solute transport at the selected Kompania Węglowa S.A. and HUNOSA mines; validate and assess modelling results; consider modelling uncertainty given historical and newly collected monitoring data; identify the structures/receptors at risk and evaluate the environmental risk exposure.
To use aqueous water geochemistry software tools to model the surface water quality and pollutant bioavailability around selected Kompania Węglowa S.A. and HUNOSA mines; validate and assess modelling results; consider modelling uncertainty given historical and newly collected monitoring data; identify the structures/receptors at risk and evaluate the environmental risk exposure.
To model and estimate gaseous emissions to the surface from coal mines during closure and post-closure periods at the selected Kompania Węglowa S.A. and HUNOSA mines; validate and assess modelling results; consider modelling uncertainty given historical and newly collected monitoring data; identify the structures/receptors at risk and evaluate the environmental risk exposure.
To integrate the environmental impact assessment results in the web-based GIS visualisation tool.
The general objective of this work package is to undertake a risk evaluation based on the results of the data collection and environmental impact predictions carried out in the previous work packages, including the assessment of the assumptions made, the limitations of the tools used, and possible site evolution scenarios for the coal mines during the post-closure period.Possible risk treatment strategies will be identified and considered in terms of the integrated risk profile of coal mine sites. Specific objectives are:
To perform risk evaluation and compare the estimated levels of risk with the risk criteria previously defined for each individual topic of concern (subsidence, ground/surface water and gaseous emissions).
To decide which risks need treatment and establish the priorities for treatment considering the relationships between subsidence, gaseous, ground and surface water impacts.
To determine the mitigation alternatives that can be used for each risk that needs treatment in order to reduce them to an acceptable level.
RISK MANAGEMENT AND REMEDIATION MEASURES
The general objective of this work package is to evaluate the performance of alternative risk mitigation strategies in terms of performance (reducing the risk to acceptable levels) and cost. The final closure assessment plans will be elaborated by means of selecting the most feasible treatment alternatives for the different environmental impacts together with the transitional monitoring that could guarantee a hazard level in compliance with land re-use and use of natural resources (e.g. water). Specific objectives are:
To forecast the performance of different pollution treatment methods in order to mitigate risks, use the models developed and estimate the emissions and corresponding reduced risk levels.
To carry out a cost analysis of the different pollution treatment alternatives in order to support the selection of the most feasible for each case.
To estimate treatment failure probabilities and their uncertainty bounds based on the project’s timeline, in order to redesign and improve the treatment strategy.
To define the cost efficient transitional monitoring and validation programmes that should be implemented to verify impact assessment and compliance.
To establish a methodology to estimate financial provisions needed for monitoring and mitigation during coal mine closure and post-closure periods.
To elaborate the final closure assessment report for the selected Kompania Węglowa S.A. and Hullera del Norte mines.
Finally this work package refers to the activities that will be undertaken to disseminate the results of the project to coal mines across Europe and to establish links and relations with the scientific community and other research teams working in the area of management of environmental risks during and after coal mine closure. Specific objectives are:
To produce a best practice guideline for the management of environmental impacts, prediction and risk during coal mine closure and post-closure.
To ensure that the impact modelling and risk management methodologies are transferred to coal mines across Europe.
To ensure that the project has an impact on competitiveness of the coal mining sector.
To support the dissemination of the project results to the scientific community and the general public.