IsoCont - Innovative Isotopic Technicques for Identifiying Sources and Bigeochemical Cycles of Mercury in Contaminated Areas, 1. 10. 21 - 30. 9. 24, Milena Horvat

In Slovenia one of the biggest challenges is to manage one of the most mercury contaminated site in Europe, the legacy of the Idrija Mercury Mine, the second biggest mercury mine in the world, which was operational for five hundred years. Highly elevated levels of mercury compounds in all environmental compartments of the whole impact area of the Idrija Mercury Mine, due to centuries of mercury mining, have had a negative impact on human health as well as on the entire ecosystem.

Mercury behaviour in the environment is very complex and we are far from full understanding of the mechanisms and processes affecting Hg bioavailability, accumulation and transfers in the geo- and biosphere. A number of parameters have been shown to be crucial to describe the cycling and interactions of mercury in the environment, such as solid-liquid partitioning, soil-plant transfer, migration, resuspension, bioavailability and remobilization. Land and resource management, as well as climate change in the impacted area my significantly affect mercury behaviour in the environment.