Management of Tailings and Other Wastes for Rehabilitation
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1991
In the past many coal mining projects commenced without any consideration being given to eventual site rehabilitation. Now that site rehabilitation is assuming greater importance with changing community expectations, and standards are becoming less negotiable, it cannot be ignored in either the development of mine working plans or economic models. The "unspecified" rehabilitation measures associated with many existing projects will be the subject of debate for some time to come yet. It would be wise to plan for the future. Once an agreeed standard of rehabilitation is accepted, good management involves considering practices which will facilitate eventual rehabilitation at least cost. Without planning for rehabilitation, many mines have adopted practices which are likely to result in very expensive rehabilitation measures and impact significantly on the overall profitability of the ventures. With adequate planning, procedures can be developed which achieve the same short term goals without significantly effecting cash flow but with very significant impacts on the final rehabilitation cost. This paper looks at the disposal of tailings and overburden in the coal mining process. The industry has in the past had an obvious preference for the "perceived" cheaper procedures for waste management such as wet disposal of tailings and high dumping of overburden. There are alternatives. The paper discusses the principles which should be incorporated into tailings and overburden disposal systems and identifies viable alternatives.