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Update: 03 Feb 2020
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Posted: Mon, 03 Feb 2020 11:32
BIOTROP Introduces Swampy Forest System for an Eco-friendly Mining - 75 time(s) visited
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Armaiki Yusmur, MSi, a researcher assistant of SEAMEO BIOTROP, was invited by the Centre of Environmental Technology Study (CETS) of Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII) to be a resource person for the Eco-friendly and Safety Mining training course held on 21-22 December 2019 in Yogyakarta.

In this event, Armaiki shared about the mining impacts on aquatic ecosystem and its rehabilitation with 21 participants coming from various Indonesian universities and research institutions. He told the audience that mining activities affect aquatic ecosystem negatively by changing the river/drainage patterns, producing acid mine water, causing erosion and sedimentation as well as releasing chemical pollution.

He then emphasised that water affected by acid mine drainage has a pH of less than 4; thus, it is necessary to improve the quality of mine water according to the environmental quality standards set by the government before it is discharged into public waters safely. To process such water, active methods (aeration and calcium application) and passive methods (aerobic/anaerobic wetland, open limestone channel, Anoxic Limestone Drainage (ALD), Successive Alkalinity Producing System (SAPS), vertical flow reactors and so on) are usually used.

“With regard to the acid mine water management, BIOTROP has proposed a swampy forest method, which is a wetland modification by planting forestry vegetation species that can live in shallow water (less than 50 cm in depth) and can function as a heavy metal accumulator,” he said. In this method, acid mine water flows from the void into the swampy forest which size depends on the amount of water flow to be managed. Hyperaccumulator plants such as cattail (Typha sp.) and yellow cheesewood (Nauclea orientalis) are planted in a basin area that is located before the compliance point to help in accumulating the metals.

He furthermore explained that in the swampy forest system, an anaerobic condition is applied to the wetland ecosystem to avoid oxidation process and to stimulate the growth of sulfate-reducing bacteria. These bacteria increase alkalinity and remove metals in the form of sulfide deposits; thus, calcium mineral to neutralise the pH of the water is no longer used. The growth of microbes is also supported by the plants’ root systems.

In his presentation, Armaiki also mentioned that in the development of the swampy forest system, it is also necessary to analyse rainfall, the suitability of location, the system design, flow and discharge types and substrate at the base of the swampy forest.

By controlling acid mine drainage through the environmentally-friendly way, he concluded, the company not only gets benefit from its mining materials but also contributes to the sustainability of the aquatic ecosystem for the community.

Also attending the activity as resource persons were Prof Dr Ir Cahyono Agus Dwi Koranto, MAgrSc, from Universitas Gadjah Mada and Azham Umar Abidin, MPH, from UII.