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Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 9, pp 7809–7832 | Cite as

Decision support methods for the environmental assessment of contamination at mining sites

  • Gyozo Jordan
  • Ahmed Abdaal
Article

Abstract

Polluting mine accidents and widespread environmental contamination associated with historic mining in Europe and elsewhere has triggered the improvement of related environmental legislation and of the environmental assessment and management methods for the mining industry. Mining has some unique features such as natural background pollution associated with natural mineral deposits, industrial activities and contamination located in the three-dimensional sub-surface space, the problem of long-term remediation after mine closure, problem of secondary contaminated areas around mine sites and abandoned mines in historic regions like Europe. These mining-specific problems require special tools to address the complexity of the environmental problems of mining-related contamination. The objective of this paper is to review and evaluate some of the decision support methods that have been developed and applied to mining contamination. In this paper, only those methods that are both efficient decision support tools and provide a ‘holistic’ approach to the complex problem as well are considered. These tools are (1) landscape ecology, (2) industrial ecology, (3) landscape geochemistry, (4) geo-environmental models, (5) environmental impact assessment, (6) environmental risk assessment, (7) material flow analysis and (8) life cycle assessment. This unique inter-disciplinary study should enable both the researcher and the practitioner to obtain broad view on the state-of-the-art of decision support methods for the environmental assessment of contamination at mine sites. Documented examples and abundant references are also provided.

Keywords

Environmental risk assessment Geochemistry Geo-environmental models Industrial ecology Landscape ecology Landscape environmental impact assessment Life cycle assessment Material flow analysis Mining 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the European Commission, Joint Research Centre PECOMINES Project members and Steering Committee members for their kind assistance in developing this paper. The assistance of the USA Fulbright Program grant, the Hungarian–American Enterprise and Scholarship Fund (HAESF) grant, the Bolyai Janos Research Grant of the Hungarian Academy of Science, the Norwegian Financial Mechanism–Hungarian Science Fund grant ‘The Furtherance of Internationally Acknowledged Young Researchers Career’ and the Hungarian Scholarship Board Grant are gratefully acknowledged. A special thank is given to the two reviewers for their useful comments. This paper reports on the research at the Geochemistry, Modelling and Decisions Research Group.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Centre for Agricultural ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of Physical Geography and GeoinformaticsSzeged UniversitySzegedHungary

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