Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 386

Full Length Research Paper

The opencast bauxite mining in N.E. Ghiona: Eco-environmental impacts and geomorphological changes (Central Greece)

  Αristeidis Mertzanis  
Technological Educational Institute of Lamia, Department of Forestry and Management of Natural Environment, 36100, Karpenisi, Greece.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 December 2011
  •  Published: 18 January 2012

Abstract

 

It has been observed that certain anthropogenic interventions in the form of mining activities, such as opencast bauxite mining (large artificial cavities -pits-, voluminous piles of calcareous spoils -inert materials- derived from bauxite mining, dense road network constructed in order to get access to the mine location, etc), alter “critical” parameters of the natural environment and lead to destabilization of the environmental balance of forest ecosystems as well as cause changes in geomorphological processes. The way and methods used for the mining of bauxite until the end of the 20th century in the area of Northeastern Ghiona, in combination with the deforestation, forest fires, illegal logging- wood cutting, grazing-overgrazing in the forest, opening up new dense road network constructed in order to get access to the mine locations and the uncontrollable waste disposal, resulted in a significant burden to the natural environment, especially in the cases where it covered extended parts of forests, forest areas and grasslands as well as important geomorphological formations. All the aforementioned led to the occupation or the deforestation of forests and grasslands, the interruption of natural relief continuity and the change of natural geomorphologic processes and phenomena. Despite the existing strict relevant legal system that applies in the forest areas (Laws, 998/79, 1650/86, etc) in most cases, human activity in those areas does not take into account the necessary restrictions for the protection of the environment and this leads to unfavorable effects to the relevant areas which result in alterations as far as the extend and severity, depending on the type, the extend, the function and the location of the specific activity. The aim of this paper is: (a) To locate the main opencast bauxite mining activities as well as the existing or planned other human interventions and activities in the area of Northeastern Ghiona, and (b) The determination of the impacts to the natural environment and more specifically to the hydro-geomorphological characteristics and processes of Northeastern Ghiona, both during the time of the exploitation and after the ceasing of works as far as opencast bauxite mining is concerned in the numerous mines found in the area between Kaloskopi-Kastellia-Gravia-Variani (Northeastern Ghiona).

 

Key words: Bauxite mining, environmental impact, geomorphology, Ghiona mountain, opencastmining.