Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 70, Issue 4, pp 1581–1592 | Cite as

Adverse effects of coal mine waste dumps on the environment and their management

  • N. Adibee
  • M. OsanlooEmail author
  • M. Rahmanpour
Original Article


Waste dumps generated from mining that exposes sulfur-bearing overburden can be active sources of acid generation with the potential to severely contaminate soils, surface and groundwater, and endanger both local and downstream ecosystems. A waste rock management strategy ensure that disposal of such material is inert or at least stable and contained, and minimizes the surface footprint of the wastes, and explores options for alternate uses. Reclamation of waste dumps is another or parallel alternative to decrease the potential for adverse effects. At the coal mining area of Karmozd in Iran, large volumes of wastes have been produced and disposed of without any specific care for the environment. In this paper, the impacts of waste dumps on the environment were identified and this was followed by a research program to determine the characteristics of the wastes, their acid generation potential, the availability of hazardous contaminants, and a prediction of their environmental impacts on the site. Data was collected from the target site and by comparing several reclamation alternatives using a Multi-Attribute Decision-Making technique, forestry was selected as the post-mining land use for the waste dumps. Preliminary evaluations indicated that Zelkava could be a useful tree species for this region.


Coal mining Coal mine waste Spoil Reclamation plan 


  1. Bielecka M, Krol-korczak J (2010) Hybrid expert system aiding design of post-mining regions restoration. Ecol Eng 36(10):1232–1241Google Scholar
  2. Cao X (2007) Regulating mine land reclamation in developing countries: the case of China. Land Use Policy 24:472–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen Y, Li D (2008) Spatial decision support system for reclamation in opencast coal mine dump. WSEAS Trans Comput 7(5):519–531Google Scholar
  4. Cravotta CA (2010) Abandoned mine drainage in the Swatara Creek Basin, Southern Anthracite Coalfield, Pennsylvania, USA: 2. In: Performance of treatment systems. Springer, Berlin, 18 pGoogle Scholar
  5. Cravotta CA, Brightbill RA, Langland MJ (2010) Abandoned mine drainage in the Swatara Creek Basin, Southern Anthracite Coalfield, Pennsylvania, USA: 1. Stream water quality trends coinciding with the return of fish. Mine Water Environ 29:176–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Golipour M, Mazaheri A, Raghimi M, Shamanian GH (2010) Study of geochemistry and mineralogy in Karmozd coal Basin Central Alborz, Mazandran Province. Iran J Crystallogr Mineral 17(4):655–670 (in Persian)Google Scholar
  7. Grant CD, Campbell CJ, Charnock NR (2002) Selection of species suitable for derelict mine site rehabilitation in New South Wales, Australia. Water Air Soil Pollut 139:215–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Helingerova M, Frouz J, Santruckova H (2010) Microbial activity in reclaimed and un-reclaimed post-mining sites near Sokolov (Czech Republic). Ecol Eng 36:768–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ishizaka A, Labib A (2011) Review of the main developments in the analytic hierarchy process. Exp Syst Appl 38(11):14336–14345Google Scholar
  10. Kablan MM (2004) Decision support for energy conservation promotion: an Analytic Hierarchy Process approach. Energy Policy 32:1151–1158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. King BM (1998) Impact of rehabilitation and closure costs on production rate and cut-off grade strategy. In: Proceedings of 27th international symposium on application of computers and mathematics in the mineral industries (APCOM). Production scheduling. IMM, London, ROYAUME-UNI, pp 617–629Google Scholar
  12. Liu M, Jiang Y, Li G, Ju Z, Zhong M (2000) Research on waste land reclamation and its implementation mechanism in China. In: Lu X (ed) Mine land reclamation and ecological restoration for the 21st century. China Coal Publishing House, Beijing, pp 54–59Google Scholar
  13. Matthies R, Aplin AC, Jarvis PA (2010) Performance of a passive treatment system for net-acidic coal mine drainage over five years of operation. Sci Total Environ 408:4877–4885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Narrei S, Osanloo M (2011) Optimum cut-off grade in open pit mines with considering post-mining land-use revenues. In: Mine planning and equipment selection (MPES 2011). Almaty, Kazakhstan, pp 233–247Google Scholar
  15. Neri AC, Sanchez LE (2010) A procedure to evaluate environmental rehabilitation in limestone quarries. J Environ Manage 91(11):2225–2237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Osanloo M (2008) Mine reclamation. In: Amirkabir University of Technology Publication, 2nd edn, 300 p (in Persian)Google Scholar
  17. Osanloo M, Hekmat A, Aghajani BA (2006) Reclamation of granite stone quarry—a case study in Jostan Granite Mine, Tehran, Iran. In: 1st international seminar on mine closure. Perth, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  18. Osanloo M, Rashidinejad F, Rezai B (2008) Incorporating environmental issues into optimum cut-off grades modeling at porphyry copper deposits. Resour Policy 33:222–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pedrol N, Puig CG, Souza P, Forjan R, Vega FA, Asensio V (2010) Soil fertility and spontaneous re-vegetation in lignite spoil banks under different amendments. Soil Tillage Res 110:134–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rashidinejad F, Osanloo M, Rezai B (2008a) An environmental oriented model for optimum cut-off grades in open pit mining projects to minimize acid mine drainage. Int J Environ Sci Technol 5(2):183–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rashidinejad F, Osanloo M, Rezai B (2008b) Cut-off grade optimization with environmental management; a case study: Sungun cupper project. IUST Int J Eng Sci 19(5):1–13Google Scholar
  22. Redgwell C (1992) Abandonment and reclamation obligations in the United Kingdom. J Energy Nat Resour Law 10(1):59–86Google Scholar
  23. Rydgren K, Halvorsen R, Odland A, Skjerdal G (2011) Restoration of alpine spoil heaps: successional rates predict vegetation recovery in 50 years. Ecol Eng 37(2):294–301Google Scholar
  24. Saaty LT (1980) The analytical hierarchy process: planning, priority setting. In: Resource allocation. McGraw-Hill, New York, 287 pGoogle Scholar
  25. Saaty TL (1990) Multi-criteria decision making: the Analytic Hierarchy Process. RWS, Pittsburgh, 479 pGoogle Scholar
  26. Saaty TL (1994) Highlights and critical points in the theory and application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process. Eur J Oper Res 74:426–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sabeti H (1994) Trees and shrubs of Iran forests, 2nd edn. Yazd University Publication, 380 p (in Persian)Google Scholar
  28. Sakai Y, Sasaoka T, Matsui K, Shimada I, Nakagawa H, Ichinose M (2009) Some environmental issues and more useful utilization of mined-out areas for surface mines located near populated areas. In: Mine planning and equipment selection (MPES 2009). Banff, Canada, pp 377–387Google Scholar
  29. Sheoran AS, Sheoran V, Choudhary RP (2010) Bioremediation of acid-rock drainage by sulphate-reducing prokaryotes: a review. Miner Eng 23:1073–1100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shrestha RK, Lal R (2011) Changes in physical and chemical properties of soil after surface mining and reclamation. Geoderma 161:168–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Soltanmohammadi H, Osanloo M, Aghajani BA (2009) Deriving preference order of post-mining land-uses through MLSA framework: application of an outranking technique. Environ Geol 58:877–888CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Soltanmohammadi H, Osanloo M, Aghajani BA (2010) An analytical approach with a reliable logic and a ranking policy for post-mining land-use determination. Land Use Policy 27:364–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Subramanian N, Ramanathan R (2012) A review of applications of Analytic Hierarchy Process in operations management. Int J Prod Econ 138:215–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sun H, Li M, Li D (2011) The vegetation classification in coal mine overburden dump using canopy spectral reflectance. Comput Electron Agric 75:176–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Szczepanska J, Twardowska I (1999) Distribution and environmental impact of coal-mining wastes in Upper Silesia, Poland. Environ Geol 38(3):249–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Topp W, Thelen K, Kappes H (2010) Soil dumping techniques and forestation drive ground-dwelling beetle assemblages in a 25-year-old open-cast mining reclamation area. Ecol Eng 36:751–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Uberman R, Ostrega A (2005) Applying the analytic hierarchy process in the revitalization of post-mining areas field. In: ISAHP 2005, Honolulu, Hawaii, 10 pGoogle Scholar
  38. Younger PL, Banwart SA, Hedin RS (2002) Mine water: hydrology, pollution, remediation. Kluwer, London, 464 pGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhengfu B, Hilary I, John D, Frank O, Sue S (2010) Environmental issues from coal mining and their solutions. Min Sci Technol 20:0215–0223Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Mining and Metallurgical EngineeringAmirkabir University of TechnologyTehranIran

Personalised recommendations