Monitoring datasets available to evaluate past mining impacts on catchment and coastal environmental quality are severely limited in temporal extent presenting a major hindrance to effective decision making for management of legacy pollution to achieve the goals of the EU Water Framework Directive and Mining Waste Directive. The 'Sediment linkage between land, river and sea: evaluating impacts of historic mining on sediment quality in the coastal zone' (SEDiLINK) research project will develop an innovative sedimentological approach to overcome these important challenges and close this substantial knowledge gap.
The SEDiLINK approach will bring together established techniques (e.g. Pb-210 geochronology) with new approaches in evaluating riverine ecosystems (e.g. Pb isotope fingerprint) and deliver an integrated toolkit for evaluation of mine waste impacts. The extensive metal mining history of the Tamar river basin and coastal zone, in the South West of England, offers an ideal test-bed in which to develop the novel and powerful SEDiLINK approach for wider application in other EU contaminated fluvial and coastal ecosystems requiring longer term remediation legacy pollution.
The project brings a cross-disciplinary collaboration between EU universities (University of Plymouth, UK and University of Basque Country, Spain), opening opportunities of new collaborative research. The Pb isotope composition will be determined at the SGIker-Isotope Geochemistry Facility (SGIker-IGF) and Mineralogy and Petrology Department using state of the art MC-ICP-MS (Neptune) instrumentation.