Mine pits are a secondary resource for the recovery of Ukraine

The war has been going on in Ukraine for the tenth month. The war, which kills our people, destroys our homes, critical infrastructure and energy facilities.

According to KSE Institute „Russia will pay“, in September 2022, 135,800 private and apartment buildings were damaged.

According to military administrations, by mid-October, 142,000 residential buildings had already been damaged. And this isn’t counting schools, kindergartens, administrative buildings, industrial and energy facilities. All this will need to be restored.

At the same time, the enemy continues to constantly attack our energy system, which, due to hostilities, suffers not only from missile strikes, but also from shortages for coal-fired thermal power plants.

The mining capacities of Western Donbass and the Lviv-Volyn coal basin aren’t enough to meet domestic needs. And the export of the necessary coal became more difficult and more expensive due to changes in the logistics of supplies, which during the war became impossible by the sea.

It is already becoming clear that even after our victory, the mentioned problems will remain and it will be necessary to solve them. How? In my opinion, look for an alternative.

Such an alternative can be rocks from mine dumps and coal beneficiation factories. And not only in the field of energy, but also in the reconstruction of our cities and towns.

An alternative fuel. In essence, mine dumps are coal-bearing layers of rock (with coal residues), coal enrichment products accumulated in the form of pits and waste storages. Tericones are dangerous primarily because of their ability to self-ignite.

They are a permanent source of atmospheric air pollution by products of combustion, surface watercourses and underground waters, occupy thousands of hectares of land, making it unsuitable for plant growth. But they can also be useful.

Over the years of operation of the coal industry in Ukraine, 1.7 billion cubic meters of rocks have accumulated, which are stored in about 1,063 rock dumps. The annual volume of coal mining waste is about 60 million cubic meters.

At the same time, such dumps contain from 15 to 30% of coal. According to my calculations, it is from 250 to 510 million cubic meters or approximately 300 – 610 million tons of already mined coal.

At the same time, during the heating season (November-March), Ukrainian TPPs need 17 million tons of stone fuel.

The costs of extracting coal from tericones are significantly lower than the cost of its extraction. The process of development of dumps involves the use of a minimum amount of mining equipment. An excavator, a bulldozer, a dump truck and a sorting line are enough.

Coal waste from coal beneficiation factories is coal screening, dust and small fraction of low-quality coal. One of the progressive methods of disposal of such waste is briquetting – the process of processing small coal particles into lump fuel.

The method makes it possible to obtain a fuel product characterized by high heat output, reduced emissions into the atmosphere during combustion, ease of transportation and storage. Such briquettes can be used for the needs of the metallurgical and chemical industries, as raw materials for power plants, as well as for household needs of the population.

At the same time, it is the most quickly available energy resource for Donbas.

Especially, taking into account the fact that many operational mines were damaged during the war and are gradually being flooded, and therefore coal mining will be impossible.

Construction raw materials. Another promising direction of mine rock processing is their use as construction raw materials. In particular, burnt waste rock is of special interest for the construction industry. Their varieties are glies – clayey and clayey-sandy rocks, burned in the bowels of the earth during underground fires in coal seams, and actual waste burned mine rocks that were subjected to the burning process already on the surface.

Such rocks can be used for the construction of the ground surface during the construction of structural layers of road clothing, for leveling, planning and reclamation of territories.

In Germany, Japan, China, Brazil and in other countries, burnt rocks are used for the manufacture of bricks, paving stones, as aggregates for concrete.

Actually, domestic scientists have developed dozens of ways and methods of using burnt mine rocks in various fields of construction. Extraction of such raw materials is carried out at several facilities in Volyn and Donetsk region.

In addition to the above-mentioned areas of application, high-clay fired mine rocks of Donbass can serve as an additional source of alumina – a raw material for aluminum production. Such developments are being successfully implemented in Poland and France.

Mine tailings in various quantities may contain, per 1 ton: 16 – 32 kg of carbon, 0.2 – 12.1 kg of nitrogen, 0.4 – 19 kg of phosphorus, 4.7 – 37 kg of potassium, 4.8 – 11. .4 kg of calcium, 0.1 – 85 kg of sulfur, 0.1 – 20 kg of zinc, up to 1 kg of molybdenum, up to 5 kg of gallium, 35.7 – 740 kg of silicon, 54 – 343 kg of aluminum, 2 – 21.4. kg of titanium, 0.1 – 2 kg of nickel, 0.1 – 0.3 kg of cobalt, 0.3 – 8 kg of barium, 0.5 – 1 kg of beryllium, up to 3 kg of scandium and other substances.

Of course, in order to determine the direction of use of this or that dump, it is necessary to carry out their exploration and geological and economic assessment. Assess the degree of temperature transformation of rocks, their lithological, mineral, and chemical composition.

Based on the received data, determine the type or types of raw materials into which these wastes can be processed, as well as the optimal method of processing, estimate the volumes of reserves and the economic feasibility of their development. That is, to treat rock dumps as man-made deposits.

Undoubtedly, investments in such objects hide certain economic risks. First of all, they are related to the instability and heterogeneity of the rock composition of mine dumps.

At the start, it isn’t possible to say exactly, which target direction of use for this or that object will be optimal and which funds are necessary for its development.

Therefore, it would be appropriate to apply a separate legislative approach to mine dumps and man-made deposits in general, to provide for a simplified procedure for obtaining special permits for such objects, to establish payment for a special permit only after conducting a geological and economic assessment and establishing the intended purpose of future products. mining enterprises.

Preferences are required. After all, the risk must still be justified.