Archive for the ‘acid mine drainage’ Category


Here is a new document from the US EPA on treating mine-affected waters.  Free to download at this link and worth so doing.

The document is titled:  Reference Guide to Treatment Technologies for Mining-Influenced Water (EPA 505-F-12-001).

I read it and found it pretty comprehensive, although I am no expert in the topic.  Still, there appears to be much need for such a survey and I am sure many will find it useful and informative.

Not that mining is the only place needing water treatment technologies.  As the North Carolina folk have determined there is groundwater contamination at all their ash disposal sites.  See this link where the following is written:

More ground water supplies around the state may be contaminated by coal ash.  Those are the findings of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Resources.
Director Tom Reeder told the state’s environmental review commission further examination beyond the Dan River spill indicates that trouble may be found in other parts of the state.
“We’ve known that for a long time now. Yeah, there is some level of ground water contamination at every coal ash facility,” he said.

The Dan River impact by spillage from one such facility has prompted these “revelations.”  Nothing like a major failure to shock officials into action!

Although there is still much muddle.  Today I spoke with folk doing a closure plan.  Their approach is to compare the cost of doing nothing at closure (no covers) and treating lots of seepage versus low permeability covers and little treatment.  The fallacy of this comparison is that limited seepage implies limited treatment.  In fact, low seepage may be more contaminated than high seepage:  the water has more time to pick up constituents.  So much for elementary logic!

Let us know you perspectives and experiences.


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Spent today in a course on Covers in Cold Climates.  The course is part of the seminar to follow tomorrow and Wednesday on the same topics.  Arranged by InfoMine, it is being held in Whistler, which is a nice, but not spectacular place to have a conference—I prefer Banff or Vancouver.   For the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a pale reflection of those other grand hotels with the Fairmont name: a bland and ugly exterior that replicates in cheap detail the features of the hotel in Vancouver that it tries to emulate. (more…)

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On Tuesday I was in yet another of those asinine arguments about what constitutes “perpetual” in mining and mine closure.  I had heard all the arguments, smart and cynical, more than thirty years ago when we debated them on the UMTRA Project.  But the pusillanimous arguments continue, for everyone has an opinion and wants to be heard. (more…)

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Every so often a presentation at a conference takes your breath away and leaves you amazed at the ability of the speaker and their colleagues. This happened today as a sat listening to Joel Carrasco of Ausenco present on a paper entitled Development of an integrated mine waste management plan of the metates gold-silver project, Durango and Sinaloa States, Mexico.   To get the paper, you will have to get the proceedings of the Tailings and Mine Waste Management 2013 conference or in due course download the presentation that I refer to from the website of the conference–I told it will take week or two to load pdfs of the presentations. (more…)

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A busy weekend and start to the week.  And yesterday a long argument about terminology.   We are preparing a closure plan for a mine.  The regulations demand that we identify a range of alternative closure scenarios, define evaluation criteria, and then compare the alternatives.  All standard procedure, for alternatives comparison, risk assessment, and decision making in general. (more…)

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Some folk at work did something stupid the other day at a mine site.  Wondering unaccompanied around the site, they espied a pool of orange water.  On the lookout for signs of acid drainage, they rushed to the pool to get a sample.  They failed to notice that the pool was at the bottom of a large, deep excavation subtended by steep slopes of uncompacted sand and above which was another pool of clear water. (more…)

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Yesterday a polite lady emailed me asking if she would get a job in mine closure if she did the EduMine course that I wrote on Mine Closure, The Basics of Success.  She is a geologist, formerly at one of those mines now cutting back. I replied as follows: (more…)

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At this link is my EduMine course on Mine Closure: The Basics of Success.  One issue I do not address in the course is a looming tendency, namely should we tax existing mines to pay for closure of old mines? (more…)

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amr dragon

Just available at this link is the PowerPoint presentation made by Andy Robertson at last week’s conference in Lima, Peru on Mine Water Solution in Extreme Environments. As always, it is fascinating & provocative and informed by his deep understanding of the topic and his international experience looking at mines & tailings dams worldwide.  (more…)

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Categories are constructs of our imagination.  We define categories to aid our thinking, analysis, and decision-making.  It is easier to respond immediately if a stimulus fits a preconceived category, than to analyze afresh.  A rustle in the brush fits the definition of the category “Tiger in the woods; the tiger could kill us; therefore flee.”   Why analyze the situation to decide that the wind is merely blowing through the trees and making a nasty sound? (more…)

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