ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF ABANDONED MERCURY MINE IN PODLJUBELJ
Tamara Teršič, Mateja Gosar, Robert Šajn
2006, 24 x 17 cm
The book describes the history of mining in Podljubelj and the results of a study conducted in order to establish the load of mercury and other heavy metals in soil and sediments in the vicinity of an abandoned mine Sv. Ana – Podljubelj. The mine is located approximately 8 km north of Tržič at the foothills of Begunjščica. The deposit is of the hydrothermal vein type; its origin is very likely related to the Ladinian volcanic activity.
The Podljubelj mine was in operation between the years 1557 and 1902. The quantity of total excavated ore was about 110.000 tons or 360 tons of mercury, respectively. A smelting furnace was operating near the mine for a few years. Most of the mine waste was deposited along the Potočnikov graben stream, while a part of it was used for the construction of a road that runs along the valley. The metal yield during smelting was only about 50 %, which led to considerable losses of mercury into the environment.
Soil was sampled in a 100 x 100 m mesh in an area of 88 ha in two soil horizons, while in a wider area of the deposit stream sediments were also sampled. Spatial distribution of single chemical elements and geochemical composites were determined on the basis of chemical analysis of soil samples. Only mercury values were considerably raised with regard to the geochemical background which clearly indicates anthropogenic influence. The concentrations of mercury were the highest in the vicinity of the abandoned mine and smelter and fell quickly with the distance. Soils were slightly loaded with mercury also along the Tržič – Ljubelj road running along the valley, which is a consequence of the usage of mine and smelter waste material for the construction of the road.