Sustainable development of mining waste dumps: launch of the European SUMAD project

The launch meeting for the European SUMAD project (Sustainable Use of Mining Waste Dumps) was held on 2 and 3 October 2019, in Nottingham (United Kingdom). Ineris is a partner.

Europe has exploited coal and lignite for decades for the production of energy. Inferior quality by-products have formed visible mountains, called slag heaps. These mounds, which are strewn over mining regions, are sometimes reused in some way, but most often remain abandoned.

The SUMAD project is the first European project supported by RFCS (Research Funding for Coal and Steel), which looks into ways of reusing slag heaps resulting from the exploitation of coal and lignite in Europe. The main objective is to determine and assess reuse methods for these waste dumps, thus contributing to the energy transition of mining regions.

The project will depend largely on feedback in Europe and worldwide and will address the technical, social and economic challenges. The project will study, in particular, the possible use of these waste dumps for the installation of photovoltaic panels and wind turbines. Ineris is principally going to contribute to the stability study of waste dumps with the help of physical and digital modelling. The project ought to result in the development of an operational risk management tool for the reuse of mining waste dumps.

This project, which was started in July 2019 and will end in July 2022, groups ten European partners from five countries (Poland, Greece, Czech Republic, France and the United Kingdom).