Understanding Public Perceptions of a New Pit Lake in As Pontes, Spain

The introduction of coal mining in the 1940’s transformed the landscape and economy of As Pontes, Spain. Industrialisation created successive waves of economic and population booms, but when the mining slowed in the 1990s, the region experienced economic depression. Real and perceived social divisions and environmental abuses on the part of the mining company remained entrenched in people’s memories. This paper provides an overview of the factors that likely affected community acceptance of the new pit lake in As Pontes, Spain. Pit lakes are often attractive closure options for companies, and community opinion of pit lakes can influence pit end use. Community perceptions of the pit lake before, during, and after filling were assessed using case studies, interviews, and focus groups, and by tracking news events and analysing internet forums. The results broadly indicated high community acceptance of the pit lake by people residing in the town. However, interviews revealed that acceptance of the pit lake was influenced by previous experiences with the mining company; company employees and local politicians were more likely to be positive about the benefits of the lake, whereas those not directly affiliated with the lake (long-term residents, remote villagers, school teachers) were more likely to have a negative view of it. Thus, technical success is not the only factor that influences community acceptance of pit lakes and company closure plans. Unresolved social issues can also influence the way certain people perceive the new landscape, regardless of ecological and aesthetic impacts.

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Time evolution of stress under an artificial lake and its implication for induced seismicity

Abstract

The time history of stress beneath a realistic artificial lake with a realistic loading history on a permeable lithosphere can be calculated by solving the consolidation equations for a uniform permeable medium. The evolution of stress conditions towards or away from a Mohr–Coulomb failure envelope illustrates that highest risk of induced seismicity exists at initial loading and in some cases after a down-draw of the lake. The calculated histories depend crucially on hydrologic and geologic conditions which are very poorly known at many artificial lakes. If the formation strengths are constant in the area of the lake, consolidation theory indicates that failure is most likely under the lake in strike-slip or normal fault regimes. If failure occurs due to loading on a thrust fault regime it will occur at an offset from the lake.

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