Copper is an essential metal for many industries and, consequently, there is an increasing necessity for its extraction and mining operations cannot be stopped. Within this project we consider the copper mining operation areas of Moldova Noua and Bor. In common ores, copper is found in combination with sulfur, iron, carbon and oxygen. In Serbia and Romania, copper mineralization are mostly porphyry type of deposits containing mostly sulfur minerals associated with pyrites that are one of the main sulfuric acid generators in contact with atmosphere. Main mining wastes generated during the treatment of those kind of copper deposits and which cause the main environmental pollution are: tailings generated during flotation processes containing nonmetallic minerals, spent ores consisting of the material remaining in either dump or heap leach piles when leaching ceases, acid rain resulting from the combination of rain and SO2 causing damage to crops, trees and buildings for many miles down-wind. In the area of disposal the mining waste, the acid mine water is generated from the mine wastes containing sulfide-rich minerals. Acid rock drainage also occurs naturally within some environments as part of the rock weathering process, but is exacerbated by large-scale earth disturbances characteristic of mining.
Until now, Romania and Serbia have applied very different strategies regarding the copper mining, responding very different to the common challenge raised by copper mining activities and environmental pollution. One common territorial challenge that will be tackled by the project is to find adequate solutions to remove metals from waters resulted from mine dumps, and to propose solutions for remediation of the acid mine drainage. To do this, the project considers physicochemical and ecotoxicological analysis to make an accurate evaluation of the pollution of waters from areas situated downstream from the copper mine in both Moldova Noua and Bor and, based on these results, will propose some solutions to reduce the pollution. Territorial challenge also takes into account the needs of population living in these areas, considered as the main target group of this project. Consequently, the project has the opportunity to create a common strategy regarding the copper mining and related environmental issues, as the final scientific studies of the project will be making available to the general population and will be sent to the responsible peoples from local/regional/national public authorities of both countries.
Another territorial challenge covered by the present project is related with lack of education and awareness regarding the environmental issues. We will inform some of the target groups (population, school pupils, students) about the environmental problems related with the waste dumps and flotation tailings resulted from mine activities, about the possible technical solutions available today to solve these problems by awareness campaigns, training sessions organized in settlements from the cross-border regions.