Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Sciences: UK Mining Engineering Tasks

Grants and Contracts Details

Description

The Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Sciences (ARIES) program is a consortium of eight universities that will work collaboratively to investigate the facts related to the impacts of mining. Knowing the facts will allow elected officials to make sound policy decisions that support jobs and energy security while maintaining the health and well-being of the environment and communities of Appalachia. The specific objectives of the consortium are to: i) evaluate the effects of coal mining on streams and biological communities in the region; ii) investigate methods for effectively minimizing water discharges through alternative water management practices and treating water prior to discharge; iii) developing analytical tools to allow mine planners to locate, isolate, and manage strata that may generate releases of environmental concern; and iv) assess improved placement designs and spearhead development of mining engineering systems and practices that can improve environmental performance and accountability. The ARIES program requested the faculty in the Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Kentucky (UK) to submit a proposal that will address several of the subtasks described in the overall ARIES work scope. In subtask 4.2.1 of the main ARIES workplan, UK mining engineering faculty will provide assistance in developing new or modified mining practices that will improve the environmental aspects associated with fill designs. This work will require traveling to mining operations and working with mine personnel and other ARIES investigators to achieve the goal of minimizing the footprint of mine fills. UK mining engineering faculty will also work along with other ARIES investigators to develop a methodology to incorporate reclamation practices as a unitized part of the mining operation (subtask 5.1.3). The majority of this work will also be conducted off-campus and in the Central Appalachia coal fields. The extracted coal requires processing to remove zero-value, rock material which results in significant waste generation and the need for relatively large storage areas (subtask 5.3.2). UK mining engineering faculty will lead an effort to evaluate the potential of removing the majority of the rock near the mine face using dry separation processes and using the material for beneficial use in the mine. Within the water-based processing plant, alternative chemicals for use in flotation and water clarification will be studied in an effort to reduce environmental impacts. Processing of the reject material will be investigated to determine the potential of isolating the more environmentally harmful components of the waste which will allow selective storage practices to minimize or eliminate the negative environmental impacts. The majority of the work will be conducted at selected mining operations in the Central Appalachia coalfields.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/117/31/16

Funding

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: $542,292.00