Mezica Valley, Slovenia


Mezica valley has a several hundread years of tradition in mining and processing of lead, which has resulted in significant increase of environmental pollution with lead, zinc and cadmium. The mine was closed in 1994, but they continued with lead processing (used accumulators used as raw material for new products). Excessive exposure to lead and consequently increased body intake of lead has harmful effects on human and animal health (main problem is increased concentration of cadmium and lead in children s blood). To reduce exposure and intake of lead a program of measures to improve environmental quality in Mezica valley was prepared. The program is supported by the government, which in December 2007 adopted the Ordinance on areas of greatest environmental pollution and the program of measures to improve environmental quality of in the Mezica valley. Measures are being implemented until 2022, when they hope to achieve environmental quality that allows normal healthy life for inhabitants of Mezica valley.

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Basic Data
NameMezica Valley, Slovenia
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesZinc
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsExploitation of lead and zinc ore in the carbonate layers in Mezica area (Northern Karavanke) has over 300 years of tradition. Ore deposit was developed on the area of 64 km2, miners were excavated over 1000 km of galleries and about 19 million tons of lead and zinc ore. In 1988 a decision was made to gradually cease the exploitation because of diminishing of ore stocks, increasing exploitation expenses and very high expenses connected with water abstraction [1].

Potential Affected Population5000
Company Names or State EnterprisesMinistry of Agriculture and the Environment of Slovenia from Slovenia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Groups MobilizingCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..):::Official complaint letters and petitions
Forms of MobilizationObserved or Documented
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Global warming, Noise pollution, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Air pollution, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
OtherNo Data
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Potential: Malnutrition, Infectious diseases, Deaths
OtherNo Data
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Development of AlternativesEnvironment Protection Act
Why? Explain briefly.Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area:::Compensation
Sources and Materials

[1] Mezica lead and zinc mine closure impact on hydrogeological conditions in upper Mezica Valley


ZZV Ravne na Koroškem: Sanacija svinca (Slovenian)
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Other CommentsTomislav Tkalec
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ContributorTomislav Tkalec
Last update08/04/2014