Mining - Tisa and Balkan

Since 2006, the UNEP office in Vienna coordinates a refined assessment of South East European mining-related risks: Together with the Prof. Philip Peck (an Extractive Industries Specialist from Lund university, Sweden), Mr Zinke has verified in spring 2006 a long list of mining-related environmental hot spots in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. This is part of the ADA (Austrian Development Agency) funded project " Improving regional cooperation for risk management from pollution hotspots as well as transboundary management of shared natural resources ". The resulting report ranks some 15 mining sites that pose substantial transboundary risk to the environment, public health and safety, and to the regional socio-political stability in SEE.

These and other activities under the slogan " Mining for Closure " are organized within the framework of the Environment & Security Initiative (ENVSEC) of UNEP, UNDP, OSCE, UNECE and the REC. It aims at improving regional cooperation for risk management from pollution hotspots as well as the transboundary management of shared natural resources

Next step has been to determine suitable measures needed to remediate and reduce the environmental risk at selected pilot sites. Innovations for contaminated mine waters assessment, management and remediation were presented at a technical workshop on March 26 - 29, 2007 in Brestovacka Spa, Bor , Serbia . This included a field trip to the Bor and Majdanpek mines. Mr Zinke co-facilitated this workshop.

Workshop summary report

Subsequent to the workshop, Mr Zinke guided two mine water experts, Gilles Tremblay and Nand Dave from Natural Resources Canada on a field trip to jointly assess some of the identified mine sites in BiH (near Sarajevo and Srebrenica).

Picture gallery from field trips to mining sites in Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina (photos from March 2007)



Tisa Pollution Incidents

  • Rehabilitation of the Tailing Pond Novat at Baia Borsa, Maramures, Romania

    The Novat tailing pond is one of the riskiest industrial installations in the Tisza basin. Upon initiative of Mr Zinke and thanks to a Greenpeace campaign and Austrian support funds, the long needed rehabilitation works could be executed in 2004. Since November 2004, a major pollution risk spot is safe again.

Deutscher Kurzbericht

Artikel im Magazin "profil" vom 15.11.2004

Article in the Austrian newspaper "Der Standard" from 26 February 2005

  • Rehabilitation of the Tailing Pond Novat at Baia Borsa, Maramures, Romania

In the course of consulting the "Clean Waters" campaign in the Upper Tisza river basin in 2002 by Greenpeace in Central and Eastern Europe, Zinke Environment Consulting prepared an Investment Portfolio jointly with the mining company REMIN and local water and environment authorities; the Novat tailing dam is one of seven priority sites of REMIN for urgent rehabilitation.
In spring 2003, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs expressed its interest to provide financial support for the rehabilitation of this environmental risk spot. This support is arranged via a trilateral contract between the Austrian Ministry, the Romanian Ministry of Economy and Trade as well as REMIN as the owner and operator of the Novat pond.
In December 2003, Zinke Environment Consulting was asked by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Austrian Development Agency to supervise and monitor with an international expert team the implementation of local works.
The project was implemented from January to November 2004 by the Romanian REMIN state mining company and supervised by a small Zinke Envir. Consult. team:

Alexander Zinke and Prof. Dan Stematiu, Technical University Bucharest., supported by Prof. Karl Lorber, mining university Leoben/AT. Since November 2004, the major pollution risk spot is safe again.

Article in Danube Watch 1/2005 (extended version)

Photo documentation of the works at the Baia Borsa-Novat tailing pond in 2004

  • Greenpeace 2001-2002: Assessment of Hot Spots on Industrial Pollution in the Upper Tisza Basin (Romania, Hungary, Slovakia)

This consultancy is supporting a new Greenpeace project in Central and EasternEurope running in 2002-2003 with the objective to jointly find solutions to reducethemost important industrial sources of water pollution in specific mining and chemical industries. Details to be published in spring 2002. In October 2002, an Investment Portfolio for 7 Pollution Reduction Projects in the Upper Tisa Basin (REMIN Mining Industries in the Maramures Region) was presented to international donors.See also map

    View from the Baia Borsa-Novat tailing dam two years after the big pollution accident: Still a high risk spot!
    Badly treated wastewaters from the Herja mine pollute the clean Firiza river, upstream of Baia Mare (Zinke 2001).
    Insufficiently treated mine waters pollute Sasar river running through the center of Baia Mare (Zinke, 2002).
    Tailings from the Central Flotation plant in Baia Mare are pumped to the Bozanat pond (here slopes of the deposit).
    Some 40 mio. tons of tailings are stored at the Bozanta pond, next to the Lapus river floodplain.


  • Romanian wastewater experts visit Austria in September 2003
    In September 2003, 11 Romanian experts from the local environment authorities and polluting industries in the Upper Tisza region and the Mures Basin visited Austria. They participated in a nine-days' study tour on Austrian wastewater management and water monitoring. The programme was sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organised by Zinke Environment Consulting in response to a request by Apele Romane, the Romanian Waters National Administration.
    (See the Article in Danube Watch 1/2004)

  • See also at Current Projects: Rehabilitation of the Tailing Pond Novat at Baia Borsa in 2004

  • Risks for Transboundary Pollution in the Tisa river basin
    Production of a Regional Inventory of high risk spots for potential pollution accidents in the Tisa river basin parts of Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary. Report and map prepared for the Permanent Secretariat of the ICPDR (International Commission for the Danube River Basin) in Vienna. Published in September 2000 by the "Baia Mare Task Force" in Brussels.

  • Tisa river basin transboundary pollution incidents: Consultancy at UNDP Romania from the end of March until mid June 2000 (non-permanent) to develop coordination for environmental emergency rehabilitation and related international programmes.


The upgraded pumping station at the
Baia Borsa-Novat tailing pond (RO)