The Lithuanian Geological Survey under the Ministry of Environment (LGT) tested samples of rock with shale and found that the heavy metal levels in them presented no hazard to the environment. The samples were taken from rock at different depths of at least 1.2km, Lithuania's Ministry of Environment said.
© U. Karaliūnaitės nuotr.

"As Lithuania was preparing for the exploration of shale resources and intends to produce hydrocarbons from them, it first had to make sure that the shale itself was not toxic. This is why we tasked geologists with doing research," Deputy Minister for Environment Daiva Matonienė said.

A certified Canadian laboratory was chosen to analyse the chemical composition of the samples. Based on the findings of analysis and on the effective environmental requirements for managing areas contaminated with chemicals, the LGT found that the only limit values exceeded in shale were those of molybdenum (1.66 times), which apply to areas used for the production, storage, processing and loading of petroleum as well as to other industrial areas with low sensitivity to pollution. The limit values for copper (up to 4.5 times), arsenic (up to 1.8 times), uranium and selenium (up to 1.6) and vanadium (1.17 times) were exceeded in the individual samples of shale rock. Such increased levels of these elements exist in any fossil fuel: coal, lignite and petroleum.

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