Biodiversity / Soils

Preserving biodiversity is integral part of PPC’s environmental strategy. The Corporation takes measures, in compliance with effective legislation, with regard to the management of the natural environment in lignite mining and power generation areas. These measures aim to ensure the conservation of natural habitats, indigenous flora and wild fauna.

Actions to preserve Biodiversity in lignite mining and power generation areas: 

  • Rehabilitation of land in mining areas
  • Management and development of artificial lakes in hydroelectric projects, HPPs
  • Dealing with and minimizing the environmental impact of Power Plants

PPC has been implementing extensive land rehabilitation programs for many decades in mining areas and pursues the optimal rehabilitation of the affected areas and the selection of the most appropriate end use.  

The large tracts of woodland that were created from planting trees over many years on rehabilitated mine land create ecosystems of great beauty that contribute to environmental protection and biodiversity.  

In HPP areas, reservoirs have taken on a new dynamic by attracting into the wider area important populations of avifauna species of great importance at National and European level. Moreover, the beautiful scenery around reservoirs has encouraged the development of mild tourism activities. 

As far as technically feasible, Power Plants apply relevant anti-pollution technologies and best practices in order to minimize the impact on the environment and ecosystems from the Company’s activities.

In cooperation with entities such as the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, the National Institute for Agricultural Research, the Interbalkan Environment Centre, the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture, the Fisheries Research Institute as well as university departments, PPC elaborates programs to monitor physicochemical parameters, studies and research on the equilibrium of ecosystems in order to develop actions to conserve biodiversity beyond what is specified by the legislation.  

Protected NATURA areas (2018 data) 

Name of water source in NATURA 2000 areas PPC terrain situated inside a protected area (σε km2)
Almyros, Chania *  0,08
Aliakmon (Asomata)  2,98
Agras 9,41
Nestos (Thisavros)  27,25
Nestos (Platanovrysi)  2,63
Aoos 11,63
Tavropos (N. Plastiras HPP)  23,56
Papadia Dam  0,75
Total 78,29


* Almyros source in Chania falls within the responsibility of PPC Renewables. Under the Agreement between PPC and PPC Renewables, TPP Chania is responsible for the SHPP and for monitoring water quality in this particular reservoir in compliance with the JMDs Approving the Environmental Terms for the SHPP.

Examples of PPC S.A. actions for the protection of Biodiversity: 

In mining areas 

  • Development of farmland which is leased by PPC to farmers for cultivating crops
  • Rehabilitated land is converted to farmland and leased annually to local farmers for a token rent. The “Model” farms developed at the western external depot of the Horemi mine in Megalopolis, Arkadia, are suitable for crops or livestock farming (ongoing action)
  • Planting trees to rehabilitate new land in Mining areas
  • The new rehabilitated land with planted trees are ecosystems of particular beauty hosting indigenous flora and fauna species
  • Special phytotechnical study to restore vegetation in the areas of Ptolemaida Mines in West Macedonia Lignite Center
  • Actions to promote environmental information and raise awareness in society about the conservation of biodiversity, such as tree-planting by pupils with materials and saplings provided by the Company on the external depot of Amyntaio field mine in the context of Environmental Education in primary schools at Ptolemaida
  • Architecture competition of ideas on the “Regeneration and reuse of former lignite mines in West Macedonia region” (year 2016)
  • In the context of sustainable development actions and corporate social responsibility, WMLC launched an architecture competition of ideas in 2015, awarding prizes to the top three most comprehensive ideas for the redevelopment and reuse of a 445 acres area at the north-western border of the communities of Karyochori and Agios Christoforos. The first prize was awarded to the architecture office topio7 to which there was assigned in 2018, and scheduled the preliminary design and execution of the proposal
  • Event on the “Enhancement and systematic development of the beekeeping potential of acacia plantations of West Macedonia Lignite Center” (March 2019)
  • Partnership with the Democritus University of Thrace under COFORMIT, a research project co-funded by Greece and the European Union, regarding the contribution of tree-planted areas of West Macedonia Lignite Center (WMLC) to the protection of environment and the mitigation of climate change, which is implemented through the action RESEARCH-CREATE-INNOVATE by the Management and Implementation Authority of the Ministry of Interior (GSRT)
  • In the context of the research project activities, a meeting was held on the “Contribution of tree-planted areas of West Macedonia Lignite Center (WMLC) to CO2 capture and environmental protection” (October 2019).
  • Spatial - urban planning competition of ideas on “Landscape Redefinition and Productive rehabilitation of the mines of Amyntaio”
  • Air quality monitoring systems have been installed and put in operation in the wider area of West Macedonia Mines and the Megalopolis TPPs and Mines. On 4 December 2019 a prize-awarding ceremony was held in WMLC mining installations in celebration of St Barbara’s Day, patroness saint of mines
  • Special Ecological Assessment (SEA) of the Memeitsa depot (area of NATURA) which is an integral part of the approved Environmental Impact Assessment for the exploitation of Kleidi mine situated in the districts of Florina and Amyntaio, by “PPC S.A.” in compliance with the Approval Decision of Environmental Terms issued in 2018
  • Air quality monitoring systems were installed and put in operation in the wider areas of West Macedonia and Megalopolis TPPs and Mines.

In HPP areas:  

  • Integrated management and promotion plans for lakes, dams and wider HPP areas.  
  • Studies required for the Hellenic Management Plan for Eel protection.
  • “Development of a typology of obstacles affecting eel migration”.
  • “Efficiency assessment of technical measures to facilitate the migration of eel populations”.
  • Specific Ecological Assessments (SEA) for the HPPs in the Acheloos and Nestos Complexes and  N. Plastiras HPP (2019).
  • Study to investigate the hydrological status and flow configuration of the Acheloos River downstream from the Kremasta, Kastraki and Stratos I and II HPPs using Geoinformation technologies (2021).
  • Study to investigate the impact from the operation of the Acheloos river dams in downstream protected Natura 2000 areas GR2310001 and GR2310015» (2021).
  • Study to Identify Possible Changes in Microclimate in the wider area of PPC Projects on the Nestos River (ongoing action). Installation of two meteorological stations in the Wider Area of PPC Projects on the Nestos River as part of the Study to Indentify Possible Changes in Microclimate. 
  • Cooperation with the municipality of Metsovo, the Region of Epirus, and the Management Authority of the National Park of Northern Pindos to deal with foreign species in the reservoir of Aoos Springs HPP (ongoing action). 
  • Impact Study on the Metsovitiko HPP ecosystem, Technical Environmental Study on the Free Communication of Fish Fauna, drawing up of a Monitoring Manual and other compliance activities under ET 40 and ET 41 of JMD/ Approval of Environmental Terms 10686/2008 (2019).  
  • Amendment to the Detail Design in Landscape Architecture and Plant community composition – Unification and Updating of Ilarion HPP Environmental Assessments (2019).
  • Automatic round-the-clock telemetric measurement network for HPP physicochemical and meteorological data.
  • Studies for the protection of fish fauna in reservoirs and along rivers in HPP area, as required. Commissioning of a relevant Study for N.Plastiras HPP reservoir is pending (2021).   
  • Study of fish fauna and conservation proposals in the construction area of the Ilarion HPP project. 
  • Impact Assessment on the riverine ecosystem from the construction of the Hydroelectric project on Metsovitiko River – Technical Environmental Study.
  • Study of fish fauna and conservation proposals in the construction area of the Skopos-Papadia Dam. 
  • Elaboration of Special Technical Detail Study on the possibility of integrating coastal areas peripheral to Ilarion HPP reservoir and existing islets downstream of the dam, in a protection regime, in order to attract avifauna. 

 

 In Power Plants

  • Investigating the environmental impact from the disposal of cooling water and treated liquid waste in the marine coastal area of  Atherinolakkos TPP in Crete; 
  • Oceanographic Study on the Quality of the Marine Environment in the vicinity of  Keratea-Lavrio TPP with regard to foaming phenomena;  
  • Special Ecological Assessment (SEA) in the wider Meliti TPP area and the disposal site of its solid by-products (December 2016);
  • Special Ecological Assessment (SEA) in Kalymnos APP;
  • Special Ecological Assessment (SEA) in Karpathos APP. 

The actions for the protection of biodiversity are presented in the annual reports on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development which are posted on the Company’s website. 

In the Lignite Centers of West Macedonia and Megalopolis, PPC S.A. implements the environmental rehabilitation programs included in the Environmental Impact Assessments for the Mines. 

The aim of environmental rehabilitation is to harmonize the project sites with the natural environment after the closure of the lignite mines. 

Environmental programs of land rehabilitation proceed in successive annual phases. Each phase begins as soon as an area is decommissioned of mining operations. The main rehabilitation phases consist of laying the final surfaces, checking the gradient of slopes of gangue material deposit, checking soil fertility and laying topsoil, planting forest tree species and creating terrains for general use. 

The stages of new soil rehabilitation are adjusted to the land use assigned to the area to be rehabilitated. According to the assessments new soils can be allocated to the following uses: 

  • Woodland terrains intended for creating livestock zones, rehabilitated woodland and timber production
  • Farming land to be leased to local farmers at low price
  • Recreational areas. Once the works have been completed, lakes will be created in the final mine pits
  • Special uses involving specialized projects, such as motocross tracks or infrastructure projects for the region.

To this date, PPC has developed in West Macedonia Lignite Center and Megalopolis through its environmental rehabilitation plans:

  • Large tracts of woodland by planting trees over the span of several decades, an activity which is ongoing
  • Large tracts of farmland leased to local farmers for a token rent
  • Greenhouses, a model experimental fruit-tree grove with apple, pear, peach trees and other seasonal fruit under an integrated management system, exhibition centers, theaters, motocross tracks, recreational parks,  game reserve 
  • Artificial lake which is considered to be an artificial wetland in a rehabilitated area at  West Macedonia Lignite Center
  • Green zones at selected locations around Mine excavations and Municipal Districts adjacent to the Mines.  

In order to rehabilitate soils in mining areas and upgrade the environment on its delivery to the local population, the Company, aside from implementing approved environmental rehabilitation plans, has prepared and continues to prepare research projects in cooperation with Universities, Higher-Educational Institutes and reputable research institutes and makes consistent efforts to restructure cultivations on rehabilitated soils.  

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