Fabricated soils from ultrafine coal waste

More from the Minerals to Metals Symposium 2016

Fabricated soils from ultrafine coal waste
The use of fabricated soils from processing coal waste in mine reclamation projects is an innovative part of the solution for a more sustainable coal mining production. It enables the reduction of the direct environmental, social and economic impact related to current (end-of-pipe) waste disposal approaches and rehabilitation of mine sites.
Trough separation of the acid-generating sulphide fraction as well as further coal production from the fine coal waste using two-stage flotation or an equivalent separation process, a largely benign waste fraction results.
The re-purposing of this waste particulate material into a fabricated soil will be investigated through the addition of amendments such as algae, anaerobic digested sludge and organic compost.
The chemical, physical and biological aspects of the fabricated soil will be defined, including its drainage, nutrient profile and absence of toxic components. Its potential use in mine-site rehabilitation also will be considered.

Juarez Amaral Filho
Postdoctoral Fellow
“Se os senhores da guerra
Mateassem ao pé do fogo
Deixando o ódio pra trás,
Antes de lavar a erva
O mundo estaria em paz!”
Chimarrão, nectar of life and peace by João Chagas Leite

Recycling and utilization of mine waste: A gold case study
The discovery of world-class gold deposits in the late 19th century led to the transformation of South Africa’s economy from an agricultural to a modern industrial economy. Despite its significant contribution to the economy, the mining industry has been plagued by labour disputes and is widely criticized for its negative environmental impacts. Of particular concern is that fact that the beneficiation of gold results in the production of large quantities of solid waste (including overburden, waste rock and tailings), which accounts for approximately 42% of all waste generated in South Africa.

This waste material is typically discarded in tailing deposits, which cover approximately 400km2 in surface area. These tailings dam pose a significant environmental risk as they can lead to the formation of acid rock drainage (ARD) generation, water pollution, soil contamination, flooding resulting from burst tailings dams and respiratory health impacts to surrounding communities.

To minimize the impacts of conventional disposal on the environment date, three main approaches to mineral waste management have been adopted in South Africa. These are namely rehabilitation, recovery, and reuse. While these approaches have been implemented, the reuse option still remains constrained in South Africa. The research findings suggest that the reuse of mine waste is influenced by different parameters such as technology, legislation, material suitability and economics. These parameters can either facilitate or hinder the reuse of mine waste.
Lesley Sibanda
MPhil in Sustainable Mineral Development
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West


Minerals To Metals Symposium 2016

Fabricated soils

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

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