Everything You Need To Know About Mining Waste Management

Mining waste management solutions are necessary on any mining site. Mining produces a lot of waste. This waste needs to be handled properly to reduce its impact on the environment. Improper waste disposal on mining sites will lead to soil, air and water pollution. There are different types of mining including coal mining, landfill mining, gas and oil extraction, non-metal and metal ore mining and more.

Overburden or waste rock

This is the large mass of initial rock and soil that is removed to get the mineral deposits. Around five tons of overburden  are usually displaced in order to mine one ton of ore. This type of mining is not subjected to chemical processes. However, overburden needs to be removed in order to reach mineral ores. Overburden can be managed by piling it on the nearby surface of the site where it will not interfere with operations on the mining site.

Gangue

Gangue is the rock waste that is missed with valuable minerals that need to be processed. Separating minerals from the gangue is referred to as mineral processing. In order to extract all the minerals from the gangue, the gangue should be reprocessed a few times since the number of minerals may be missed in the first processing phase.

Mine tailings

Mine tailings are finely ground mineral waste and rocks that result from mineral mining processing. They can contain processing chemicals. Proper transportation and disposal of mine tailings are crucial since they can be an environmental concern. The mine tailings are usually pumped into tailing ponds using slurry pumps.

Waste management

Mining waste management is essential on any mining site. The public and local government bodies keep an eye on waste disposal methods used in mining companies. In the past, mining companies led to environmental damages due to improper disposal of waste on mining sites. This is why mining firms should come up with the best ways to dispose of waste without causing any harm to the environment.

Waste disposal

Grinding waste and adding chemicals and water is a typical step of ore processing in the ore treatment plant. A large portion of mine waste leaves the plant in the form of slurry. Free water in it is pumped back into the plant. Rock waste and gangue are disposed of by being stored in waste piles. The major portion of the waste rock is usually disposed of in piles at the source. The rejected coal is removed from the preparation plant. It is then disposed of in large banks or piles.

Management of overburden

Overburden should be managed by backfilling it back into the excavated mine land. Dumps of overburden are usually reclaimed by planting tree species that improve the moisture content, pH and overall nutrient content of the soil. A new pit should be excavated only after the existing mining pit has been exhausted. It is important to properly stack and compact the overburden. The slope and the height of the overburden dump should be maintained to prevent accidents. Drainage should then be considered as part of the mining waste management solutions to control rainwater. 

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