Decreasing the Impact of Abandoned Mines

Mesocosm experiments with biofilm in BETA TC facilities
  • Grant agreement ID: Life 16 ENV/ES/000218

  • Total project budget: 2.184.632 €

  • Start Date: 01/01/2017

    End Date: 30/12/2021

  • Project website:

Project Summary: 

Mining activities cause serious environmental damage to freshwater ecosystems through the discharge of polluted effluents, which may contain high concentrations of heavy metals or salts, depending on the type of mine. This environmental problem is especially critical for abandoned mines, because there is no company in charge of treating these mining effluents, leaving a legacy of local and global pollution.  

The LIFE DEMINE project aims to demonstrate and disseminate the technical and economic feasibility of decreasing the overall environmental impact caused by mining effluents from abandoned mines in water bodies. This will be done by adopting an innovative and versatile treatment process that will combine existing and widely known technologies based on membrane processes (nano-filtration) and electrocoagulation. The LIFE DEMINE project will obtain a non-polluting final effluent to be discharged in water bodies with the minimal environmental impact, in accordance with the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).   

The LIFE DEMINE project is coordinated by BETA Technological Center and counts with a total of 5 partners: Dresden Groundwater Research Center (Germany), ELENTEC Ltd. (UK), Swansea University (UK) and Gobierno del Principado de Asturias (Spain).   


Our role in the project: 

In the framework of the LIFE DEMINE project, BETA Tech Center is the main responsible for testing the efficiency of the new technology in reducing the ecological impact caused by mining effluents on water bodies. To do that, BETA Tech center will perform different laboratory experiments and field sampling campaigns to assess the response of aquatic biofilm communities and macroinvertebrates, as ecological indicators, to stream water containing untreated and treated mining effluents.   

At the same time, the whole environmental impact of the LIFE DEMINE technology will be assessed by BETA Tech Center using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), hotspots will be identified and mitigation measures will be proposed and implemented. LCA will be performed using the methodology and criteria established by the ISO 14040 and 14044. Moreover, it is important to ensure the economic feasibility of implementing the LIFE DEMINE technology at real scale, thus, its economic sustainability will be assessed by means of Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Cost-Benefit Analysis, viable cost reduction measures will be evaluated if necessary.