The tailings are found in the cadastral territories of Chvaletice and Trnávka in the Pardubice region, approximately 20 km east of the regional town of Pardubice. It is an industrial area lying between the Elbe River and the Chvaletice thermal power plant.
We plan to build the high-purity manganese production facility on the site of the EP Chvaletice plant located in the immediate vicinity of the tailings. Both localities are separated by a road and a railway and will be connected by constructing a pipeline bridge.
The tailings area on the left bank of the Elbe River is flat and slightly inclined towards the river. The Chvaletice pyrite mine was in operation higher up the slope above the tailings. This allowed the waste material from the treatment process to flow directly into the tailings pile area quite simply using pipes. The three piles, created between 1951 and 1975, were enclosed using earth retaining walls. The first pile was created in the south-west part of the area and covers an area of 32.6 hectares. The second, south-east pile covers 39.9 hectares. The third, youngest pile covers 31.1 hectares and was left unfinished due to termination of operations at the Chvaletice mine. Unlike the first two piles, no reclamation was carried out in the third pile.
The existing tailings pile design and the means used for securing it do not comply with today’s requirements for securing deposition areas of mining or extraction waste. A problem is posed predominantly by harmful materials leaching into the subsoil, the groundwater and the Elbe River, as well as the tailings pile materials being carried away by wind and water erosion. Laboratory analyses performed by MANGAN Chvaletice during 2015 to 2017 showed from high to excessive amounts of harmful materials such as manganese, iron and sulphates in the groundwater and in surface water over the entire locality including in domestic wells in the closest community of Trnávka.
The previous industrial activity in the locality has also caused a disturbance of the original vegetation. Its negative consequences for the local fauna and flora still persist. Currently, the surface of individual piles is covered predominantly by grass and low brush, including self-seeded trees such as birch and poplar.
Our project therefore includes reclamation and rehabilitation of the Chvaletice-Trnávka tailings so that they pose no risk for the surroundings in the future. According to expert studies which we commissioned the rehabilitation will improve the environment in the locality. In particular, water quality and soil purity will improve thanks to the removal of the present source of contamination.
The presence of manganese and iron minerals near Chvaletice was first recorded at the beginning of the 19th century. Sporadic localized extraction activities of the Chvaletice deposit occurred at the beginning of the 20th century.
Manganese was obtained from the ore from the beginning of the 1930s until 1945 – the extracted material was supplied to Czechoslovak and German steelworks.
In 1949, a combined extraction and treatment plant was created by the state, called Manganorudné a kyzové závody Chvaletice n. p. (The Manganese Ore and Pyrite Plant of Chvaletice, national enterprise). Between 1951 and 1975, the extraction activity focused on obtaining pyrite to make sulphuric acid for various industrial purposes.
The existing three piles at Chvaletice, containing waste material with manganese ore, were gradually created by deposition of the waste – flotation sludge – from these operations to the tailings pile area of Chvaletice-Trnávka. After becoming full, the first two piles were reclaimed using rocky soil and a layer of topsoil. The third pile was only filled to about one third due to termination of the extraction activity and was not reclaimed.
Trees were planted between 1975 and 1983 but they soon died due to the contaminated subsoil.
At the end of the 1980s, the state-owned battery manufacturer Bateria Slaný performed extensive studies of the tailings pile area. Although the studies confirmed the high economic potential of the manganese carbonate contained there, further work was stopped due to political changes after 1989.
The deposit remained unused until September 2014 when the extraction rights were awarded to a group of Czech companies. Subsequently, the project rights were consolidated in the company MANGAN Chvaletice, s.r.o.
In cooperation with its parent company Euro Manganese Inc., MANGAN Chvaletice, s.r.o. undertook survey work at the tailings from 2014 to 2018.
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