Mine Rehabilitation

The rehabilitation of old mine sites which in the past did not have comprehensive closure plans is an issue not only for Ireland but for many countries world-wide. Disused mine sites which have not been rehabilitated may act as a barrier to potential new mine developments (in public perception). The Avoca mine site in Co. Wicklow, Ireland closed in 1982. The deposit is an example of a Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide deposit which produced some 16 million tons of Cu ore and a ‘substantial’ amount of pyrite concentrates over an extended period. Effluent from some of the adits leading into the mine now flows into local water courses. As a result of the research a protocol was developed so that these waters could be treated.

A second study involving Wicklow County Council and the Geological Survey was initiated also on the Avoca site. Funded under the European Union LIFE Programme the project was completed in February 1997. GSI was involved in detailed site characterization (geology, hydrogeology, ecology, history of mining, mine features mapping etc.) as a basis for revegetation and water treatment trials being conducted by Wicklow County Council (the responsible Local Authority). The results of the work were published in 1997 and are available to review at the GSI.

Avoca Spoil Heaps Rehabilitation in progress Grass Test Plots
Spoil heaps before regrading
Organic layer of branches
and composted sludge
Grass test plots

Collaborators: Trinity College, Dublin (co-ordinator); Geological Survey of Ireland; British, Dutch, French and Greek partners.


For details on an Avoca Mine Remediation Feasibility project announced in May 2007 please click here.