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6th Edition of International Conference on

Materials Science and Engineering

March 18-20, 2024 | Singapore

Materials 2021

Orlando Vaselli

Speaker at MINERALS, METALLURGY AND MATERIALS 2021 - Orlando Vaselli
ELTE University, Italy

Title : Remediation activities in the former mercury mine of Abbadia San Salvatore (Tuscany, central Italy)


The former mercury mining district at the foothill of the 200-300,000 years old volcanic complex of Mt. Amiata (Tuscany, central Italy) were one of the most important mines worldwide and the mining site of Abbadia San Salvatore (ASS) was the core of the exploitation of cinnabar and the production of liquid mercury. It also represented a technologically advanced site for Hg-estraction where Gould and Nesa furnaces were operating. During about 130 years (1847-1974) of activity about 100,000 tons of mercury were produced. Presently, the mining complex of ASS covers about 65 ha and contains more than 90 mining structures and workers’ edifices. Since 2008, the local municipality has been in charge of the environmental issue and a lot of efforts are currently carried out to turn the mining site into a historic museum and a mining park, the archaeometallurgic structures being an invaluable treasure to be safeguarded, maintained and transmitted to future generations. Evidence of contamination by mercury were found in both geological, i.e. soils, underground and surface waters and air, and anthropogenic, e.g. wood, metals, building materials, matrices. The present work reports an update of the actions that were and are to be undertaken to minimize as much as possible the environmental impact that was evaluated according to the most recent regulatory laws. Consequently, a geochemical characterization of the geogenic and anthropogenic material was carried and operational cleanings during the reclamation activities were already started following an environmental sustainability code, considering that no many examples of decontamination of abandoned Hg mines are available worldwide. 
Audience Takeaway: 
Decontamination of mercury in abandoned mining sites is relatively infrequent? 
Some solutions to solve the Hg contamination are proposed, thus providing practical solutions to solve remediation problems. This study provides interesting environmental issues about the mercury geochemistry, since they involve both geological and anthropogenic materials.


Past and present Position: Head of the Dept. of Earth Sciences. Prof Geochemistry and Volcanology (Dept. Earth Sciences, Florence). Grants from the It. Ministry Education at the ELTE University (Budapest), Naz. Lincei-Royal Society of London and CNR at the Dept. Geol. Sci., Birkbeck College (London). Co-organiser of Schools of Fluid Geochemistry and Courses in Geothermal Exploration: geochemical methods in Sana’a, Sfax and Sofia by UNESCO and CNR-IGG. UN consultant for the crisis of Nyiragongo volcano (DRC). P.I. national and international projects. Co-author of 200 papers published in peer-review journals. From January 1, 2020, President of the Italian Society of Geochemistry.