Comprehensive approaches stand out in post-mining remediation activities

Halim Demirkan, Chairman of the Mining Engineers Professional Development Association (MMMGD), stated that remediation activities do not solely consist of restoring nature, emphasizing that the situation also encompasses the preservation of industrial heritage and support for the socio-economic well-being of the public.

Speaking at the IPMS 2024 International Symposium on Post-Mining Activities organized by MMMGD in collaboration with Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University (BEÜ), Demirkan answered questions from an AA correspondent.

Demirkan highlighted that various structures built for different purposes in mining regions could be opened to the use of local residents after the closure of operations and utilized, emphasizing, “It’s not enough to reclaim mining sites to nature. What will happen to the buildings and infrastructure used during mining operations? Will they decay and disappear, or will they be somehow repurposed? These considerations are also necessary. The best examples of industrial heritage are in Zonguldak, so the place where we are has a separate importance.”

Additionally, Demirkan noted that some companies make various investments to support the local community socio-economically. She stated, “In this regard, some companies support beekeeping, some produce olives. Alongside all these, we must also think about the hundreds of workers employed in the mines. Providing new job opportunities for workers after mining activities are completed, creating a new source of livelihood is essential. So, when we talk about rehabilitation, it’s not just about closing the mine; it means developing systems that will minimize harm to nature and support the community.”

Demirkan emphasized the necessity to discuss post-mining activities globally, stating, “Remediation of post-mining areas is a new trend worldwide, yet it’s a subject that needs to be addressed.”

Demirkan mentioned that although many mining companies in Turkey undertake activities to improve the region while production continues, monitoring these activities is not feasible. She stressed the need for a more systematic approach to this issue.

Demirkan suggested the need for experts and institutionalized companies to carry out remediation efforts on mining sites, proposing, “To ensure the systematic closure of mining sites, a monitoring mechanism similar to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report could be established. Hopefully, after our symposium, it will become apparent that this is a necessity, and the issue can now be comprehensively addressed by environmentalists, miners, geologists, and social scientists.”

She pointed out that remediation efforts for mining sites have been on the agenda in Europe for the past two years, stating, “Remediation of post-mining areas is a subject that needs to be discussed, although it hasn’t been addressed yet. We’re coming together at this event to talk, criticize, and discuss. It’s time for us to face it.”

source: prepared by Melisa Beğiç

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