RESTORATION work involving a former Valencian Community open cast mine being turned into pleasant green fields and vegetation has landed it the ‘Citizen’s Prize’ in EU Green week
Rincon de Ademuz in Valencia province is sandwiched between Teruel and Cuenca and has a low population density of around 2,000 people.
Within it is the Fortuna Mine which for many years saw the extraction of sand, kaolin, and silica.
The Valencian government helped by €1.5 million European funding has restored the mine area to its original look under a concept called geomorphical restoration.
LIFE TECMINE which improves restoration of open pit mines in Mediterranean forest areas were brought in to do the work using a computer mapping method called GeoFluv.
It produces a natural-looking landscape that, which together with other ecological restoration techniques, has improved different habitats and a high species biodiversity by efficiently managing natural resources, mainly water.
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.
A 13 hectare area around the Fortuna mine has been restored with 10,000 plants of over 30 species planted.
“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
There are about 500 mining sites in the Valencia Community, of which 85% impact forest land, so the success at Fortuna gives plenty of food for thought.
The success of the project is such that other parts of Spain and Sweden are looking at using the same techniques.