Unauthorized Mining in Rivers: Hydraulic Hazard and Italian Laws

Unauthorized Mining in Rivers: Hydraulic Hazard and Italian Laws

P. Filippini S. Mambretti M. Petrella 

Public Prosecutor’s Office, Court of Milano, Italy

DIIAR, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Provincial Local Police, Environmental Section, Lodi, Italy

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Unauthorized mining is regarded as a minor crime because river areas are commonly perceived as plentiful in building materials such as sand and gravel. The paper roughly estimates the quantities which may be removed every year and shows the consequences of immoderate mining both in theoretical terms and by means of case studies. Estimated self-recovery times may be in the order of hundreds of years. Techniques to combat these illegal activities are presented, together with the new instruments used by police forces specialized in environmental crimes and the new cooperation standards established experimentally in the River Po catchment area. Finally, the paper discusses the modifications scheduled for the criminal code, presenting the most important changes. More-over, because the scheduled adjustments have not yet been approved, the paper analyzes the current section of the penal code which punishes these crimes.


environmental crimes, flood hazard, investigations, mining, penal code


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