Volume XIII |

The Mateiaș limestone quarry (Southern Carpathians): changes in spatial extent and local perception on the related environmental issues

Abstract: The various natural resources and the industrialization policies implemented during the communist regime have resulted in the opening of many mines and quarries, inclunding the Mount Mateiaș exploitation. The aim of this study is to give warning against open pit mining, which has a direct and conspicuous impact on landscape dynamics and the cultural-historical value of Mount Mateiaș. The research methodology consisted in field observations, accomplished during the period 2009-2012, the analysis of limestone quarry expansion by using GIS techniques, and the application of a semi-structured interview, the results of which were processed subsequently in QSR-Nvivo 10. The analysis and processing of cartographic materials highlighted that during the interval 1979-2012 strip mining has dramatically altered the topography (by excavation works, land leveling, access road construction, accelerated slope erosion, collapses, torrential erosion etc.). These add to other processes and phenomena that have a negative impact on the environment (soil loss, massive deforestations, air pollution with suspended particles etc.). Despite these realities, most people living in the neighborhood of Mount Mateiaș (the Valea Mare-Pravăț, Dragoslavele, Stoenești and Câmpulung communes) deem that quarrying is vital for the development of local communities. Under the circumstances, the only economically productive and ecollogically protective measure advanced by the authors is the identification of possible solutions for the restauration of the quarry, given that limestone exploitation will not end in the medium term. Last, but not least, we suggest that the results of the present investigation be included in the pre- feasibility and feasibility studies of a potential future rehabilitation.