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New national research centre will seek solutions for mining contamination

LOW COST, low energy solutions for land contaminated by mining will be the focus of a new national research centre based in the North East of England.

The National Mine Site Research Facility has been established by Newcastle University, the Coal Authority and Durham and Northumberland County Councils to look at regenerating mining sites.

It is supported by CL: AIRE (Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments).

Six former coal mines near Newcastle University will form the core of the facility.

A research team led by Paul Younger, professor of hydrogeochemical engineering, recently used a number of natural regeneration techniques to treat polluted mine waters.

It is hoped that continual monitoring of these sites will reveal how physical and chemical conditions change over time and what impact this has on the effectiveness of the treatment method.

It is believed that 6,800ha of land and about 400km of water in the UK is contaminated by leachate from old mine spoil and backfill and water discharging from flooded mine workings.

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