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Environmental Impacts and Management of Ancient Abandoned Mines in the French Alps

Abstract : The French Alps have a long mining history that span the last 2,500 years. Despite low tonnages, thousands of small deposits have been mined from Antiquity to the 20 th century. These mines are currently abandoned, some even forgotten. Even though Fe, Cu, and Pb-Zn were mostly extracted, the ore deposits display a great variety of mineralisation (Ag, Au, U, Hg…). The mining industry was quite important (several million tons of iron, 200 000 t Pb, 100 000 t Zn and 500 t Ag) and thus contributed to human settlement and economic development of the French Alps. Now abandoned, the mines and their waste dumps are subjected to alteration and slow degradation over time, a probable source of cavity collapse, soil and water pollution. Considering the high amount of scattered mines, post-mining management only concerns a few sites with top priority. For most mines, the environmental impact and potential hazard are not yet evaluated. However the mining heritage has not been forgotten as evidenced by the development of interpretive boards and theme trails, the number of museums (about 10) and the possibility of underground guided tours.
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Contributor : Océane Giorda EDYTEM Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 9:33:42 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, December 23, 2021 - 12:24:50 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01762410, version 1


Dominique Gasquet, Magali Rossi. Environmental Impacts and Management of Ancient Abandoned Mines in the French Alps. 13th SGA Biennal Meeting, Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA), Aug 2015, Nancy, France. pp. 1523-1526. ⟨hal-01762410⟩



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