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JOGMECʼs activities in Japan

Japan has a long history of mining. In fact, it was once a world class producer of metals and generated great wealth. The mining production peaked around World War II, then took a downward turn resulting from a depletion of mineral resources. Now there are more than 5,000 suspended and abandoned mines throughout the country, and mine pollution such as water pollution has occurred at about 450 sites of them. Therefore, JOGMEC has been working mine pollution control since 1973.
At the request of mine pollution controlling entities, JOGMEC provides consulting services and information related to construction work for mine pollution prevention and the formulation of mine pollution control policy. Additionally, JOGMEC provides technical assistance related to surveys for and the design and construction of mine pollution control work on commission from local governments.

Conceptual Diagram of Research and Consulting Scheme

Conceptual Diagram of Research and Consulting Scheme

Activity at the abandoned Matsuo Mine

JOGMEC was commissioned by the Iwate prefectural government to operate and manage a water treatment facility at the abandoned Matsuo Mine, which used to be the largest sulfur mine in Asia. The facility has the largest water treatment capacity of acid mine drainage from abandoned mines in Japan, and commenced full-scale operation in 1982. Since then, we have been continued neutralization of highly-acidic mine drainage, which contains toxic metals such as iron and arsenic, at a rate of 18 tons per minute. Neutralization sludge is separated and deposited at waste dam and the clear supernatant water will be discharged. In addition, we have been restoring and maintaining the scenery of the region through measures such as maintaining the sedimentation dam and providing soil cover and vegetation over the closed open-pit, thereby protecting the clean water of Kitakami River for over 30 years.

  • The confl uence of the polluted Matsukawa River and Kitakami River<br />at the time of closure of the Matsuo Mine)

    The confl uence of the polluted Matsukawa River and Kitakami River
    at the time of closure of the Matsuo Mine)

  • The confl uence today

    The confl uence today

  • New neutralization plant at the abandoned Matsuo mine

    New neutralization plant at the abandoned Matsuo mine