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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Paul Younger
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Where mining proceeds below the water-table - as it has extensively in Britain and elsewhere - water ingress is not only a hindrance during mineral extraction but also a potential liability after abandonment. This is because the cessation of dewatering that commonly follows mine closure leads to a rise in the water-table and associated, often rapid, changes in the chemical regime of the subsurface. Studies over the past two decades have provided insights into the nature and tune-scales of these changes and provide a basis for rational planning of mine-water management during and after mine abandonment. The same insights into mine-water chemistry provide hints for the efficient remediation of pollution (typically due to Fe, Mn and Al and, in some cases, Zn, Cd, Pb and other metals). Intensive treatment (by chemical dosing with enhanced sedimentation or alternative processes, such as sulphidization or reverse osmosis) is often necessary only during the first few years following complete flooding of mine voids. Passive treatment (by the use of gravity-flow geochemical reactors and wetlands) may be both more cost-effective and ecologically more responsible in the long term. By the end of 1999 a total of 28 passive systems had been installed at United Kingdom mine sites, including examples of system types currently unique to the United Kingdom. Early performance data for all the systems are summarized and shown to demonstrate the efficacy of passive treatment when appropriately applied.
Author(s): Younger PL
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Institution of Mining and Metallurgy. Transactions. Section A: Mining Technology
ISSN (print): 1474-9009
ISSN (electronic): 1743-2863
Publisher: Maney Publishing