ERE4.4 | Post-mining Issues: Challenges and Opportunities
Post-mining Issues: Challenges and Opportunities
Convener: Qiang Zeng | Co-conveners: Monika Fabiańska, Justyna Ciesielczuk, Paloma Primo Doncel
| Fri, 19 Apr, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)
Room -2.16
Posters on site
| Attendance Fri, 19 Apr, 10:45–12:30 (CEST) | Display Fri, 19 Apr, 08:30–12:30
Hall X4
Posters virtual
| Attendance Fri, 19 Apr, 14:00–15:45 (CEST) | Display Fri, 19 Apr, 08:30–18:00
vHall X4
Orals |
Fri, 14:00
Fri, 10:45
Fri, 14:00
Post-mining issues, such as the surface subsidence, the surface and tailing slide, the damage and contamination to land and soil, the contamination to water, the pollution to local air environment, the damage and disturbance to nearing ecological system, and the utilization of potential resource from surface and subsurface space at Abandoned mines (AMs), etc., presents a challenge and opportunity for us. Efficient control and utilization of Post-mining issues will effectively reduce their impacts on local environment and society community. Post-mining transition will provide an enriched novel whole insight of risk concern and utilization of relevant resources from abandoned coal mines, especially in nowadays with lack of different kinds of resources, such as the shortage of underground space and land resource, the shortage of energy and water resources, etc. This session aims to present and disseminate latest advances in the control and exploitation of Post-mining issues. We sincerely encourage submission of abstracts to address the following scopes:

-Recognizing, monitoring and early warning of safety risk from AMs
-Recognizing, monitoring and early warning of environmental risk from AMs
-Control of Post-mining issues from AMs
-Utilization of resources from AMs

Orals: Fri, 19 Apr | Room -2.16

Chairpersons: Qiang Zeng, Justyna Ciesielczuk
On-site presentation
Frank Lehmkuhl, Werner Gerwin, Thomas Raab, Klaus Birkhofer, Christoph Hinz, Peter Letmathe, Michael Leuchner, Martina Roß-Nickoll, Thomas R. Rüde, Katja Trachte, and Frank Wätzold

The German government's decision to phase out lignite mining by 2038 or earlier, as recently 2030 has been agreed for the Rhineland, will trigger a number of transition processes in Germany's remaining lignite mining areas. The two largest lignite mining areas are located in geographically different regions: Rhineland in the west and Lusatia in the east. As the socio-economic and environmental conditions in these two mining areas are set to change dramatically, the German government has adopted extensive economic support measures. However, the environmental changes will also lead to changes in the ecosystem functions and services provided by the future post-mining landscapes.

Gerwin et al. (2023) compare the two main lignite producing regions of Germany in terms of their natural and cultural environments. The economic situation and its history are reflected and differences are outlined. Part of the differences in cultural development can be explained by the natural conditions, especially the edaphic factors and the climatic situation. Because of the specific geological settings, tailored mining technologies were developed and used in the two regions, with different effects on the resulting post-mining landscapes.

We conclude that the landscapes of Lusatia and the Rhineland have been radically restructured by the long and varied history of lignite mining. Both regions will change significantly as the mining industry continues to decline and is expected to cease altogether within the next decade. These changes in the post-mining landscapes and the ecosystem services will provide both challenges and opportunities. The preconditions for positive socio-economic development and for sustainable land use concepts that also consider ecological aspects are different for the two regions. The exchange of knowledge and experience between the two mining regions is crucial to the success of this major transformation process, despite, or perhaps because of, these differences.

Gerwin, W., Raab, T., Birkhofer, K., Hinz, C., Letmathe, P., Leuchner, M., Roß-Nickoll, M., Rüde, T., Trachte, K., Wätzold, F., Lehmkuhl, F. (2023): Perspectives of lignite post-mining landscapes under changing environmental conditions: what can we learn from a comparison between the Rhenish and Lusatian region in Germany? Environmental Sciences Europe 35:36.

How to cite: Lehmkuhl, F., Gerwin, W., Raab, T., Birkhofer, K., Hinz, C., Letmathe, P., Leuchner, M., Roß-Nickoll, M., Rüde, T. R., Trachte, K., and Wätzold, F.: Perspectives for the lignite post-mining landscapes of the lignite mining landscapes under changing environmental conditions – what can we learn from a comparison between the Rhenish and the Lusatian regions in Germany?, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-2791,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Anna Pietranik, Katarzyna Derkowska, Jakub Kierczak, Vojtech Ettler, and Martin Mihaljevič

In this study, we report lead isotopic compositions from oxidized Cu ores, host rocks, metal smelting residues, and soils from the Zechstein Ca1 formation which is associated with the Kupferschiefer copper deposits. The lithology is dominated by marls and slates, where Cu mineralization appears in carbonates, mostly malachite. Historical smelting left numerous slag remnants around the site (Derkowska et al. 2023). The Pb isotope ratios in ores and slags are highly diverse in comparison to previous studies of Cu ores and smelting products in Poland (Tyszka et al. 2012), i.e. 206Pb/207Pb ratio ranges from 1.094 to 2.092 for ores and from 1.151 to 1.240 for slags. This diversity is likely related to the oxidized character of the ore, which contains less Pb compared to sulfide-dominated ores and, in consequence, its Pb isotopic composition is dominated by radiogenic Pb produced by U-rich host rocks. This translates to significant differences in Pb isotope records between oxidized and reduced (sulfide) deposits that can be utilized in environmental and provenance studies. Similar diversity in soil samples is consistent with contamination by such ores and/or slags. Analyzed soils show highly variable 206Pb/207Pb ratios in lower soil horizons, whereas Pb isotope ratios in topsoils are similar to those typical for a whole region of Lower Silesia in Poland (1.17-1.19). This suggests the dominance of modern atmospheric Pb in the surface environment which we link to Polish and Czech coal combustion and name as the Lower Silesian Contemporary Pollution Signal.

Our study shows that using oxidized Cu-ores may introduce high diversity in Pb isotopic composition to smelting products, wastes, and consequently the environment. This affects both environmental and provenance studies as only a restricted isotope ratio can be attributed to a single source. On the other hand, high diversity in 206Pb/207Pb ratios in slag samples may also indicate the addition of oxidized Cu ores during smelting thus may be also an asset to identify when oxidized ores were used or acted as a pollution source.

Acknowledgments: The study is funded by the National Science Centre grant to KD (2019/35/N/ST10/04524)

Derkowska K., Kierczak J., Potysz A., Pietranik A., Pędziwiatr A., Ettler V., Mihaljevič M., 2023, Combined approach for assessing metal(loid)s mobility and accumulation in a near-neutral (pH) environment of a former Cu-smelting area in the Old Copper Basin, Poland: when nature is the ‘bad guy’. Applied Geochemistry, 105670.

Tyszka R., Pietranik A., Kierczak J., Ettler V., Mihaljevič M., Weber J., 2012, Anthropogenic and lithogenic sources of lead in Lower Silesia (Southwest Poland): an isotopic study of soils, basement rocks and anthropogenic materials. Applied Geochemistry, 27, 1089-1100,

How to cite: Pietranik, A., Derkowska, K., Kierczak, J., Ettler, V., and Mihaljevič, M.: Lead isotopic composition of the oxidized Cu ores, slags and soils from the Old Copper Basin, Poland and its implications for metal-provenance and environmental research, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11829,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Justus Constantin Hildebrand, Friederike M. Koerting, Ekaterina Savinova, Steven Micklethwaite, Peter D. Erskine, David Lindblom, Matthew Greenwood, Dominic Brown, and Nicole Koellner


While recycling and alternative technologies show promise in reducing reliance on primary raw materials, the direct acquisition of essential metals and minerals depends on extracting new resources. The increasing demand for these resources has significant implications for mining, mineral processing, and environmental impact. Failing to effectively manage this demand for raw materials and mitigate the environmental impact of mining could impede global progress towards a cleaner energy future. The M4Mining project aims to promote sustainable mining practices using integrated remote sensing data to help monitor these operations. Its primary objective is to develop comprehensive remote sensing solutions for mining and tailings sites. This abstract introduces the identification of secondary iron minerals as proxies for estimating possible acid mine drainage (AMD) occurrence in legacy mine sites in both Cyprus and Australia.


Hyperspectral data of the secondary iron minerals hematite, goethite, limonite (goethite + lepidocrocite), jarosite and copiapite were collected in a laboratory setting to develop a method to separate secondary iron minerals from other minerals. Filtering by threshold of various indices, NDVI, ferric iron index, and iron feature band ratio, were best suited for this purpose. After filtering, the remaining pixels of the secondary iron minerals were predicted using a random forest (RF) classifier-model. It was possible to distinguish between the mineral classes hematite, goethite/ lepidocrocite and jarosite with over 93% area adjusted overall accuracy using 30 random control pixels for both sensors.


The first case study is applied is the Cu-Au-Pyrite mine Skouriotissa in the Republic of Cyprus. A spectral resampling from the hyperspectral laboratory data to Sentinel-2 (S2) and WorldView-3 (WV3) spectral resolution made it possible to adjust the hyperspectral method and provide results for both satellite sensors. Comparing the resulting maps show differences of minerals mapped on the surface likely due to the sensor’s different spatial resolution (S2 20m vs WV3 3.7m pixel). 

The M4Mining partners completed their first field survey in North-Western Queensland at the Mary Kathleen legacy mine site in September 2023. The former Uranium (U) open pit mine was active until 1982 and rehabilitated in 1985. The area was surveyed via UAV-borne hyperspectral data collection and satellite-borne hyperspectral (EnMap) instruments to assess the site's rehabilitation status. The method tested in the Republic of Cyprus is being applied to the Mary Kathleen site to evaluate surface oxidation processes that could indicate acid pH environments. A special focus is set on the gradient between the capped evaporation pond and the surrounding environment including the discharge area from the former pond. Different standard hyperspectral and multispectral algorithms are used to map the spatial distribution of iron oxides and evaporates. Although a final evaluation of the rehabilitation of the area is outside the scope of this study, the data collected intend to add valuable information to the continued monitoring of the site. 

Preliminary results from Australia will be provided for relative surface changes as indicators for processes occuring under the capped evaporation pond.

How to cite: Hildebrand, J. C., Koerting, F. M., Savinova, E., Micklethwaite, S., Erskine, P. D., Lindblom, D., Greenwood, M., Brown, D., and Koellner, N.: Satellite and UAV monitoring of legacy mine sites via secondary iron mineral proxies. Case studies from the Republic of Cyprus and Australia, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-12399,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Nicolas Seigneur, Niya Grozeva, Bayarmaa Purevsan, and Michaël Descostes

Worldwide uranium production is based on the In Situ Recovery mining technique. This exploitation mode directly falls within the scope of the applications of reactive transport modelling to optimize uranium production and limit its associated environmental impact. We hereby propose a modelling approach which is able to represent the natural evolution of the aquifer impacted by the exploitation of an ISR test. Model is calibrated on 12 year-long data obtained from 12 monitoring wells surrounding the ISR pilot cell. Through this process based approach, we simulate the impact of several remediation strategies which could be considered in these contexts. In particular, we model the impact of pump and treat combined with reverse osmosis as well as the circulation of non-impacted fluids through the reservoir with different operating strategies. We show that our approach allows to compare the effectiveness of these strategies. We show that, for this small-scale ISR pilot, monitored natural attenuation constitutes an interesting approach due to its faster pH recovery time with respect to Pump & Treat and circulation of unimpacted fluids. Combined with an economical evaluation of their deployment, this approach can help the mining operator select and design the optimal remediation strategies, from an environmental and economical standpoint.

How to cite: Seigneur, N., Grozeva, N., Purevsan, B., and Descostes, M.: Reactive transport modelling as a toolbox to compare remediation strategies of aquifers impacted by uranium in situ recovery, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-18871,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Razane Doucmak, Nicolas Seigneur, Sofia Escario, Vincent Lagneau, and Michael Descostes

Worldwide, In situ recovery (ISR) is the most widely used uranium mining technique. As of 2022, it accounted for 55% of global uranium production. Uranium ISR consists in dissolving the ore minerals using an acidic leaching solution directly within the deposit through a series of injection and extraction wells. The U-enriched solution is then pumped to the surface in order to separate the dissolved uranium from the acid solution. Reagents are then recycled before being reinjected into the deposit. The key advantage of ISR over conventional underground and open-pit mining lies in its significantly

reduced costs and environmental footprint since it generates no tailings or solid waste and does not require excavation of the rock. It is by far the most cost effective extraction technique. However, an ISR exploitation impacts the groundwater quality by increasing the concentration of dissolved elements (SO4, ...) and decreasing the pH. Subsequently, groundwater impacted by acid ISR mining is typically remediated using various rehabilitation strategies.


This study aims to forecast uranium production and predict the long-term environmental footprint of such exploitation using a reactive transport modeling approach. To do so, we will use HYTEC,  an  investigative tool to assess both production and the environmental footprint of an ISR mining site. HYTEC includes the three-dimensional hydrogeochemical simulation of the relevant chemical reactions which govern uranium production and the long-term evolution of the aquifer. The model is applied to an uranium deposit of the KATCO mine in Kazakhstan that has not been exploited yet. This model can simulate the 3D evolution of the aquifer geochemistry during and after the production phase.


We will study how operating parameters (well design, injection-production rates, acidity and oxidation levels, …) impact both the uranium production and the environmental footprint of the ISR exploitation. The environmental footprint can be described in terms of distance and time. The distance is generally controlled by the migration of sulfate ions resulting from the injection of sulfuric acid, which have low reactivity and hence an important mobility. Acidity or pH is the parameter which influences the duration of the impact, as H+ has a very important reactivity and can also be stored locally by adsorption on clay mineral surfaces. The geochemical model, previously developed in a separate study, suggests that cationic sorption on clay surfaces and the precipitation of secondary minerals like gypsum regulate the behavior of contaminants (SO4, pH) over extended durations and distances.

How to cite: Doucmak, R., Seigneur, N., Escario, S., Lagneau, V., and Descostes, M.: Multi-criteria optimization of uranium exploitation by In Situ Recovery , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-19363,, 2024.

Virtual presentation
Wanling Zhang and Qiang Zeng

Preventing coal spontaneous combustion fire by using inhibitor is an effective control measure. The oxidized spontaneous combustion characteristics of coal can reflect the performance of coal, and a suitable structural model can reflect the performance of coal more intuitively, and can also lay the foundation for the study of the action mechanism of the inhibitor. In this study, samples from Baishihu coal mine were selected, and diethylenetriaminepenta-methylenephosphonic acid (DTPMP) was used as a blocking agent to investigate the macromolecular structure, microcrystalline structure changes and oxidation process of coal by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), carbon nuclear magnetic resonance (13C-NMR), and Fourier infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The molecular formula C198H164O40N2 and the molecular structure model were obtained. ChemDraw and Materials Studio were used for the experimental data, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) was used to verify the aromatic ring structure built to make the constructed structural model more accurate. In the water evaporation stage, the high ring aromatic layer is converted into the low ring number. Furthermore, in the high-temperature stage, the low ring aromatic layer is transformed due to the coking and condensation reaction of the coal sample. With the increase in the treatment temperature, water loss is heavier, oxygen absorption and weight gain are perplexing, and the value of the burnout temperature is higher. The elemental composition of the coal samples was changed after the addition of the hindering agent, and the temperature at which small free radical molecules were produced and the time at which gaseous products appeared during the coal-oxygen reaction were delayed. The characteristic temperature increases with the increase of the resist concentration and the activation energy decreases in the water evaporation stage and increases in the other two stages. The apparent activation energy of the coal-oxygen reaction increases and the reaction becomes more hard and complex to realize. DTPMP mainly reacts with free radicals and reactive oxides and forms an adsorption layer on the coal surface. And the molecular structure of the inhibitor contains several phosphate functional groups, which can react with the oxides in the coal to form phosphate substances and fill the pores in the coal. It can reduce the evaporation of water and the contact of coal samples with oxygen. These mechanisms interact with each other and together reduce the reactivity of the coal and the risk of spontaneous combustion. This study furthers the understanding of coal spontaneous combustion in this mining area, provides a reference for the prevention and control of coal spontaneous combustion.

How to cite: Zhang, W. and Zeng, Q.: Study on the Effect of DTPMP Inhibitor on Oxidation and Structural Characteristics of Coal Spontaneous Combustion, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-4496,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Jihene Nouairi, Slavka Andrejkovičová, Omaima Karoui, Tiago Pinho, Rafael Rebelo, Fernando Rocha, and Mounir Ghribi

The demand for environmentally friendly materials in our habitat is a major challenge. Alkali activation, such as in geopolymers, offers a potential solution for waste valorization, providing an alternative to cement-based materials and contributing to the circular economy.

This study explores the use of mine waste from an abandoned Pb-Zn site in Northern Tunisia as an inexpensive and high adsorption capacity additive in the synthesis of geopolymers. The mine waste was used to replace metakaolin in the geopolymer formulations to minimize the environmental impact. Two types of metakaolin (commercial 1200S MK, AGS Mineraux, France and Portuguese Vicente Pereira, VPMK) were used in the formulations. Microstucture, mechanical properties, and Methylene Blue dye adsorption were studied.

Results revealed alarming concentration of potentially toxic elements in the mine waste (28.040 mg kg−1 Pb and 94.420 mg kg−1 Zn), presenting an environmental hazard and pointing up the need to stabilize these materials in order to prevent leaching.  Mechanical behaviour at 28 days of curing was promising (up to 32MPa) in the case of the VP based metakaolin formulations. The microstructure, studied by SEM, is consisted of voids, macro and meso pores, giving the geopolymers a high adsorption capacity. The synthetized geopolymers were utilized for the adsorption of methylene blue (MB) by investigating the effect of the amount of the adsorbent and the shaking period. The batch kinetics study fitted best into the pseudo second order reaction kinetic model. In isotherm modelling studies, the Langmuir isotherm model was best fitted and was used to describe the mechanism of the adsorption. Samples with 40 wt.% VPMK and 100 wt.% MK showed the best adsorption capacity revealing the effect of the waste in the amelioration of the alkali-activated metakaolin based geopolymers and its potential in the restitution of metakolin.

How to cite: Nouairi, J., Andrejkovičová, S., Karoui, O., Pinho, T., Rebelo, R., Rocha, F., and Ghribi, M.: Towards Sustainable Mining: Geopolymer Formulations for Eco-Friendly Mine Waste Management and Recycling, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20556,, 2024.

On-site presentation
George Xiroudakis, George Saratsis, Kalliopi Gogali, and Maria Giannakaki

Mining activity has been an essential human activity since ancient times, contributing to human society's economic and cultural development. Today, surface mining activity in Greece is significant both economically and socially. A large number of quarries for aggregates and ornamental stones throughout the country contributes to the economic development of local communities and is the main occupations of mineral resources engineers.

However, it is an activity that significantly affects the natural environment, causing a range of impacts, reversible or irreversible, leading to the degradation of the area and visual alteration of the landscape. The environmental impact is considerable, and the concerns about protecting the landscape and ecosystems are growing. All thesecan be anticipated and dealt with by organizing and planning a landscape restoration study.

This research focuses on the landscaping and restoration of an aggregate quarry at the 'Latzimas' site in the prefecture of Rethymnon, Crete. In this context, two restoration proposals are made, including:

- the phytotechnical restoration of the quarry benches and pit floor using appropriate plant species,

- and the reuse of the quarry through the creation of a:

  • A) model vineyard,
  • B) botanical garden.

Usually, as the most suitable vegetation species are chosen the ones that thrive in the area instead of the ones that thrive in poor nutrient conditions, such as the environment of the abandoned quarries. Because of the above, the quarry engineer, who usually does not have the necessary knowledge of botany, will need to consult with experts (e.g. botanists and foresters) to ensure that the restoration plan is effective and not only aimed at meeting the obligations imposed by the legislation.

How to cite: Xiroudakis, G., Saratsis, G., Gogali, K., and Giannakaki, M.: Abandoned quarry reclamation by selecting the appropriate plant species., EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1413,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Dariusz Więcław, Krzysztof J. Jurek, Eva Geršlová, Tomasz Kowalski, and Elżbieta Bilkiewicz

In the Czech part of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB), there are several places of coal wastes storage. Within improperly protected heaps, the self-heating and spontaneous burning processes may develop, resulting in the emission of gaseous, water-soluble and solid (tars, dust) pollutants.

The thermal processes have developed within the heap in Hermanice (Ostrava) since the 1990s. Recently, the most thermally active is the eastern part of the deposit. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the progression of the fire based on temperature measurements, molecular and stable isotope composition of gases emitted from thermally active parts of the deposit. The sampling was conducted in the same places in January, April and September 2023. One of the sampled points was a steel pipe that penetrated the dump to a depth of ca. 12 m, where, according to Diamo Ltd., it was ca. 350 °C. The other 3 sampling points were located in areas of visible thermal activity (steam or smoke emissions). Surface temperature measurements in these spots ranged from 3 to 345 °C, and at the probe depths (50-100 cm), from 66 to 363 °C. Gases were taken at each point twice: directly from the chimney where the outflow of gas/vapour was visible (sample SURF) and after sticking the probe into the ground (sample DEEP).

During the study period, in the zone of intense thermal processes (southeastern part of the heap), large changes in temperature and gas concentrations (N2, O2, hydrocarbons (HC), CO, CO2, H2 and S-compounds) were noted. In general, SURF gases were found to be richer in pollutants than DEEP gases. This suggests that the gases coming to the surface flow from much deeper parts of the heap than those reached with the sampling probe. The highest concentrations of CO2 (19.17%), CO (0.67%), HC (2.43%), H2 (6.26%) and S-compounds (844 ppm) were found in April in gas coming out of the pipe (from the highest temperature, ca. 350oC). In September, the zone with the highest temperatures shifted to the north, and the concentrations of monitored gases generally decreased, indicating material burnout in the hot spot. The δ13C(CH4), δ2H(CH4), and δ13C(CO2) values indicate the thermogenic origin of all gases.

At a point ca. 100m away from the hot spot, temperatures of ca. 65-75oC were found during all measurements, and the gas composition was independent of the sampling depth. The highest concentrations of CO2 (20.21%), HC (3.30%) and H2 (0.5%) were found during the April campaign. The isotopic composition of selected gases suggests their relation to low-temperature thermogenic processes; the presence of a component of microbial origin is not excluded.

The data presented here show that the molecular and isotopic composition analysis of gases is a good tool for tracking processes in thermally active coal waste dumps.

This study was financed by the AGH University of Krakow as a part of the programme Excellence Initiative – Research University, Action 4, Grant No. 4113.

How to cite: Więcław, D., Jurek, K. J., Geršlová, E., Kowalski, T., and Bilkiewicz, E.: Fire progression within coal waste heap in Heřmanice, Upper Silesia, Czech Republic, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-14890,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Rui Jorge Oliveira, Bento Caldeira, Patrícia Palma, Maria João Costa, and Ana Fialho

This work aims to develop an environmental management model specifically designed for mining areas that have been contaminated by toxic metals. A sustainable management model is suggested to be established, utilizing a combination of developed tools. This model will provide tools and strategies to effectively manage and mitigate the environmental impact of such contamination, with the goal of promoting an increment of sustainability in these regions. The environmental management model combines the outcomes of employing a range of analytical techniques and tools to monitor polluted regions, including biophysical analyses, analysis of soil and water chemistry (measuring quality physic-chemical parameters and quantifying potentially harmful metals in soil and water samples), geophysics (using magnetic, electromagnetic, electrical, and seismic methods), and satellite hyperspectral remote sensing. The artificial intelligence model will utilize the data gathered from many domains as its inputs. On the other hand, a plan for the economic and financial viability of the management model will be formulated.

With the model we aim to optimize and conserve resources during the sampling and analysis phases. It will provide crucial real-time information for decision-making, specifically for monitoring and managing pollution. The device has wide-ranging utility in identifying metal pollution, facilitating the transfer of technology to various geographical regions and other metal contamination situations, such as landfills and agricultural fields.

Through our multidisciplinary approach, we anticipate diverse contributions to the region affected by metals contamination. The region benefits from the adoption of new strategies that improve current routines, streamline procedures, and ensure timely execution. This leads to positive environmental, social, and economic outcomes, including resource conservation, remediation of contaminated sites, restoration of ecosystem balance, improved company performance, reduced environmental impact, and promotion of regional sustainability.

Acknowledgment: The work was supported by the Promove Program of the “la Caixa” Foundation, in partnership with BPI and the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), in the scope of the project INCOME – Inputs para uma região mais sustentável: Instrumentos para a gestão de zonas contaminadas por metais (Inputs for a more sustainable region: Instruments for managing metal-contaminated areas), PD23-00013. The work was carried on in the scope of the funding by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) project UIDB/04683/2020 - ICT (Institute of Earth Sciences).

How to cite: Oliveira, R. J., Caldeira, B., Palma, P., Costa, M. J., and Fialho, A.: Tools for managing metal contaminated areas: multidisciplinary approach to develop inputs for a more sustainable region, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11549,, 2024.

Posters on site: Fri, 19 Apr, 10:45–12:30 | Hall X4

Display time: Fri, 19 Apr 08:30–Fri, 19 Apr 12:30
Chairpersons: Qiang Zeng, Justyna Ciesielczuk
Control of Underground Coal Fire and its Impact on Environment
(withdrawn after no-show)
Qiang Zeng
Justyna Ciesielczuk, Monika J. Fabiańska, Ádám Nádudvari, Magdalena Misz-Kennan, Krzysztof Gaidzik, and Anna Abramowicz

Coal exploitation has resulted in vast amounts of waste rocks gathered in dumps of different sizes, shapes and volumes. Changes due to their storage can lead to self-heating and self-ignition, which generate the acidification of coal wastes. Long-term burning leads to the sulphates and chlorides crust formation and sometimes hematite of spherulitic shape. A series of simple laboratory experiments were conducted to replicate the conditions leading to the formation of hematite spherules from goethite.

The first experiment involved heating at a low temperature. The starting materials were goethite α-FeOOH alone or goethite mixed with five reactants known from the coal-waste dumps (salammoniac NH4Cl, sulphur S8, phtalimide C8H5NO2, FeSO4·7H2O, naphthalene C10H8)  mixed in fifteen combinations and held at 150oC for 90 hours in a heating chamber. Hematite formed but particle shapes remained unchanged.

The second experiment was conducted at a higher temperature to verify if temperature alone is crucial to spherule formation. Temperatures measured at the burning dumps reach 1000oC. Goethite samples were held in a tubular furnace at 450-900oC in an open system for 90 minutes. Hematite formed but with irregular shapes, suggesting that other factors could be more critical.

Ubiquitous in dumps, water was added to the third experiment involving six combinations of reactants and a temperature of 150oC held for 78 h, pH = 5-7. Partially rounded hematite resulted from that bore little comparison with that seen in the dump.

The fourth experiment involved ten different mixtures of reactants (goethite, salammoniac, FeSO4·7H2O, naphthalene, NaCl, and powdered coal waste from the Radlin dump) heated in a tubular furnace at 700oC for 5 hours in an open system. The high temperature combined with unrestricted oxygen access resulted in the rapid crystallization of octahedral magnetite and platy hematite.

In the fifth experiment goethite in distilled water was mixed with NaCl and AlCl3, the temperature was relatively low (200oC), the duration was extended to 7 days, oxygen access was limited, and pH = 5-7. Cubic magnetite crystals and small hematite spherules with Ni or Cr impurities formed.

The sixth experiment conducted two mixtures: goethite + NaCl + AlCl3 + distilled water + MnSO4 and goethite + NaCl + AlCl3 + distilled water + FeSO4 in a semi-closed system at 200oC and lasted 16 days. The pH was lowered to 3. In addition to octahedral crystals of magnetite and shapeless hematite, spherules of Al- and (Al, Si) glass formed.

The seventh experiment was conducted in a semi-closed system with pH = 0, a low temperature of 200oC and a relatively long duration of 7 days. Under these conditions, and with goethite, AlCl3, MnSO4 and HCl as reactants, hematite spherules finally formed.

The laboratory experiments took into account the following factors noticed at burning coal waste dumps: temperature, fire duration, oxygen access, water presence, pH, reactants, their amount, combinations, state of matter, grinding, and mixing. Of these, pH stands out as crucial. It proves that hematitic spherules can be an indicator of an extremely acidic environment during the recent and earlier dump fires.

How to cite: Ciesielczuk, J., Fabiańska, M. J., Nádudvari, Á., Misz-Kennan, M., Gaidzik, K., and Abramowicz, A.: Experimental evidence of extremally acidic environment due to self-heating of coal-mining wastes, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-4123,, 2024.

Challenges and Solutions: Selecting Suitable Species for Vegetation Restoration in Arid Mining Areas
(withdrawn after no-show)
li chengzhi
Krzysztof J. Jurek, Mariola Jabłońska, Eva Geršlová, Ewa Szram, Monika Fabiańska, Tomasz Kowalski, and Dariusz Więcław

Coal wastes are a by-product of coal mining. Regardless of the extraction technique (opencast or deep mining), coal wastes are disposed of in dumps. The heaps are an integral element of the industrial landscape of the Czech part of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin, where bituminous coal has been mined since the 18th century. The Heřmanice dump is the largest, partially burning dump in the Czech part of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. The dump was used to store waste from several mines in northern Ostrava (Ida Mine, Viktoria - Generalissimus Stalin II - Rudý Říjen – Heřmanice Mine) up to 1970. The self-heating process began in the dump's southeast in the early 1990s and has extended northward to the eastern part of the heap. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), naturally occurring in coaly material during waste self-burning are emitted into the atmosphere with particulate matter (PM).

The concentrations and stable carbon isotope compositions of PAHs associated with PM collected on glass fibre filters using a Senya high-flow aspirator were analysed using gas chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) and compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA). The PM samples were collected from the same three exhalations on the dump in the winter, spring, and autumn. Following sample collection, the internal temperature of the dump was measured at a depth up to 100 cm below the surface. In dichloromethane extracts of glass fibre filters obtained by ultrasonic extraction, phenanthrene and fluorene predominate regardless of subsurface temperature or season. PAHs emissions differ depending on the stage of combustion. The highest levels of PAHs emission are related to subsurface temperatures ranging from 200 to 250 °C (the main stage of the self-heating process). At low (initial stage) and high (final stage) temperatures PAHs are released in low concentrations. However, the composition of stable carbon isotopes of phenanthrene and fluorene might be helpful to distinguish the stage of the process. Phenanthrene and fluorene related to low temperatures are isotopically heavier than those exhaled at high temperatures. As a result, CSIA might help evaluate the progress of the self-heating process at coal waste heaps.

This study was financed by the AGH University of Krakow as a part of the programme Excellence Initiative – Research University, Action 4, Grant No. 4113.

How to cite: Jurek, K. J., Jabłońska, M., Geršlová, E., Szram, E., Fabiańska, M., Kowalski, T., and Więcław, D.: The carbon stable isotope composition of PAHs released during thermal processes in self-heating coal waste Heřmanice dump, Czech Republic , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-16597,, 2024.

Felipe Edgardo Silva Monsalves and Thomas Graf

Potash mining to obtain potassium generates large quantities of solid waste composed mainly of sodium chloride, accompanied in lesser quantities by magnesium sulfate and magnesium chloride, as well as insoluble clay minerals. The solid waste is disposed off on the ground surface to form tailings piles. In central Germany, there are dozens of potash tailings piles, some of which are more than two hundred meters high and form a unique landscape due to their appearance and lack of vegetation. Potash tailings are therefore exposed to climatic conditions such as rainfall, which may potentially dissolve salt, thus affecting the surrounding ecosystem including surface water bodies and groundwater. The environmental impact can likely be mitigated by applying soil covers over the potash tailings to limit and, in the best case, prevent the contact of the percolating water with the saline core of a pile. The efficiency of the soil covers is increased by applying a perennial vegetation layer to reduce the amount of water infiltration by interception, evaporation and plant transpiration. Therefore, the design of a cover system is based on the hydrological processes of the site, which include precipitation, surface runoff, evapotranspiration, in- and exfiltration and the water storage capacity of the soil. In addition, the type of soil cover and thus its hydraulic characteristics, the number of layers, the thickness of each layer, as well as the angle of slope of the layers can significantly influence the long-term efficiency of the cover. In conclusion, understanding the synergy between the soil cover and the potash tailing is essential to determine the effects caused on the surrounding environment, in particular on groundwater. The objective of this research work focuses on the numerical simulation of variably saturated water fluxes, in particular the creation of a water balance between surface runoff, in- and exfiltration and evaporation loss to the atmosphere in the soil cover. For this purpose, different configurations of vegetation covers are investigated and the capillary barrier effects are analyzed for each of them. The water flow through the potash tailing produced by the remaining infiltration through the vegetation cover is modeled for a hypothetical geometrical setting of a representative tailings pile.

How to cite: Silva Monsalves, F. E. and Graf, T.: Modeling variably saturated water flow within planned covers of a hypothetical potash tailings pile, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-16327,, 2024.

Posters virtual: Fri, 19 Apr, 14:00–15:45 | vHall X4

Display time: Fri, 19 Apr 08:30–Fri, 19 Apr 18:00
Chairpersons: Qiang Zeng, Justyna Ciesielczuk
Monika Fabiańska, Arkadiusz Goleniak, Magdalena Misz-Kennan, and Justyna Ciesielczuk

The vast amount of waste rocks excavated during coal mining and stored in dumps presents a significant environmental problem as they readily undergo spontaneous heating. The process produces large amounts of organic compounds, relatively well-soluble in water. The problem is severe because self-heating has been registered in many coal mining regions. The brine application as an anti-pyrogenic agent to prevent self-heating is a method that is still being developed. Its advantages are the ignition temperature increase, rock pores sealing by crystallizing salt, and permeability decrease, preventing contact with oxygen. Since there is no knowledge about the brine potential to leach organic compounds from coal wastes, this project aims to characterize components leached by rainwater and brine applied as an anti-pyrogen.

The Starzykowiec dump has stored coal wastes since the beginning of the 20th century. They consist of mudstones, siltstones, claystones, and arcosic sandstones. Most self-heating occurred from the 1940-60s. For the procedure, samples representing six rock types were selected, all thermally affected to different degree. Maceral composition and mineral content were determined at 500 points, and random reflectance was measured on vitrinite particles at 5-100 points. Two rock portions (ca 60g) powdered to <0.2 mm grain size were leached with 200 ml of distilled water and brine (25%, wt. NaCl), respectively (24h). Then, mixtures were stirred (30 min.) and set aside to settle. Leached organic compounds were isolated using solid phase extraction (SPE) on C18 PolarPlus columns. The composition of coal waste and SPE extracts were analyzed with a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (full scan mode, DB-5 column).

The content of organic matter was 35.0-88.2%. It was mostly unaltered or weakly weathered; only one sample was strongly altered. The unaltered and oxidized samples were composed mostly of vitrinite while strongly altered sample was dominated by masive coke. Since the Starzykowiec coal wastes were deposited for a few ten years in the dump, exposed to the air and rainwater, they have been weathered prior to the experiments. Despite that they still show leaching potential, particularly fine-grained coal muds; leaching yield 0.0003-0.0017% (wt.) for brine extracts and 0.0005 to 0.0029% (wt.) for water. There is a distinctive difference in composition between water and brine leachates. Water leachate n-alkanes show distributions similar to that in source coal waste, corresponding to mature kerogen type III. Biomarkers and PAHs are still present. The organic compounds in the brine show features of organic evaporates - a Gaussian n-alkanes outline in a short distribution, no heavier biomarkers, and only lighter PAHs occurring. These compounds were expelled from a kerogen macromolecule elsewhere within the dump and precipitated on colder fragments. They are not chemically bonded to organic matter and occur on the grains' surface; thus, the brine leached them, whereas the compounds present within the rock fragments were not removed.

Since leaching yields in the case of brine are significantly lower and less hazardous compounds such as n-alkanes are the main compounds removed, sodium chloride can also act as an anti-leaching agent as well as an anti-pyrogen.

How to cite: Fabiańska, M., Goleniak, A., Misz-Kennan, M., and Ciesielczuk, J.: Leaching potential of coal waste organic compounds; a simulation study with fresh and saline water (Upper Silesia Coal Basin, Poland), EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-3385,, 2024.

Investigation on combustion characteristics and molecular structures of Heiyanquan coal in Santanghu coalfield ,Xinjiang, China
(withdrawn after no-show)
Tong Feng and Qiang Zeng
Study on the inhibitory effect of inhibitor based on the coal molecular structure analysis: A case study of Zhundong coal, Xinjiang, China
(withdrawn after no-show)
Dezhi Wang and Qiang Zeng
Comprehensive evaluation of soil heavy metal distribution characteristics and soil quality in coalfield fire area
(withdrawn after no-show)
Ruirui Hao and Qiang Zeng
Marek Szczerba, Magdalena Misz-Kennan, Dariusz Więcław, Monika Fabiańska, and Justyna Ciesielczuk

Self-heating in coal waste dumps is a process depending on variable factors; thus, laboratory simulations are required to find their extent and importance in coal waste alterations. Controlled and known conditions allow us to assess the impact of oxidation on coal waste properties.

Low-rank coal wastes from the Janina Mine (sub-bituminous coal, Upper Silesian coal basin, Poland) were the object of oxidation simulation, performed using the Hastelloy C-276 1-liter reactors (Parr Instrument Co.). For this purpose, ca. 40 and 150g (JAN-1) and ca. 15 and 27g (JAN-2) of the gravel-size (0.5-2.0 cm) coal wastes were heated to 250 and 400°C for 72h in the air atmosphere (synthetic, Air Liquide S.A.). Each experiment was conducted twice using different sample weights. The air-to-rock proportions were established based on stoichiometric calculations taking into account the amount of oxygen in the reactor equivalent to half of the requirement to burnout of organic carbon (from ca. 7 to 38 bar). Gaseous and solid products were collected after the experiments were completed. When the JAN-2 sample was heated to 250°C, the organic matter ignited (at 250°C), resulting in dust emissions and plugging of the manometer connector, which made it impossible to take a gas sample.

Samples of coal wastes oxidized in the experiment were embedded in epoxy resin and prepared for microscope observations in reflected white light and fluorescence using a Carl Zeiss AxioImager.A2m microscope equipped with a 50× oil objective.

Organic matter in coal wastes was dominated by vitrinite, with inertinite and liptinite occurring in lower amounts. The impact of oxidation was mostly seen in vitrinite particles that had paler in colour oxidation rims. Smaller particles and thin lamina of vitrinite were entirely paler in colour and had higher reflectance. That was more seen in mudstone samples containing lower amounts of organic matter compared to claystone. On the other hand oxidation rims were common in claystone as vitrinite particles were thicker.

Iron released from pyrite leads to the formation of oxides and the red color of some of the samples. Contents of illite-smectite and amorphous phases increased during the experiments, while kaolinite was a mineral that was the most affected by the ignition, and its content decreased significantly. 

Larger heterogenous particles of mudstone containing thicker bands of organic matter showed different impacts of temperature. Some liptinite particles were devolatilised but their colour and fluorescence were little changed; others were paler in colour. Vitrinite was plasticised and often had a paler colour. In other parts of the sample organic matter was absent or present as small cracked vitrinite particles and very thin lamina of collotelinite.

The lower grain size of coal wastes causes more extensive alteration due to a higher surface/volume ratio that leads to better exposure to high temperatures. Mudstone samples were more affected, showing paler particles, whereas claystone samples did not show such an effect. The phenomenon at 250°C is much less pronounced. The research shows the significance of laboratory simulation in the investigation of such chaotic and multi-factored processes as self-heating.

How to cite: Szczerba, M., Misz-Kennan, M., Więcław, D., Fabiańska, M., and Ciesielczuk, J.: Oxidative simulation of self-heating mechanisms in coal wastes with low-rank organic matter, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17671,, 2024.

Wioleta Śmiszek-Lindert, Monika Fabiańska, Leszek Marynowski, and Marzena Barczyk

In southern Poland, the mining industry led to the creation of diverse post-mining waste deposited in dumps. Therefore, it is essential to study and monitor the condition of soils developing there. The soil samples have been collected from the coal waste dump at the Ziemowit Coal Mine in Upper Silesia, Poland. The aim of the research was to determine the extent of soil contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their derivatives within the soil profile on the dump that was not subjected to thermal phenomena (self-heating).

Soil samples were taken at depths of 0, 20, and 40 cm. Powdered samples (ca. 10 g) were extracted using a dichloromethane (DCM)/methanol mixture (1:1 v:v) with an accelerated Dionex ASE 350 solvent extractor. The samples were analysed using GC–MS carried out with an Agilent Technologies 7890A gas chromatograph and Agilent 5975C Network mass spectrometer.

The PAHs detected included phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzo[b+k]fluoranthene, benzo[j]fluoranthene, benzo[a]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[e]pyrene, perylene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, benzo[ghi]perylene, dibenzoanthracenes, and coronene together with their alkyl derivatives in the range of C1-C4. Concentrations of highly carcinogenic PAHs such as benzo[a]pyrene (ca. 0.95 µg/g), benzofluoranthenes (ca. 0.17-3.34 µg/g), and benzo[a]anthracene (ca. 1.70 µg/g) have been determined in all samples. Due to the combined effects of weathering and leaching by waters penetrating the highly permeable dump lighter PAHs were partially or totally removed, among them naphthalene and alkyl naphthalenes up to C3, fluorene, acenaphthene, and acenaphthylene. There are significant differences in compounds absence with sampling depth, i.e. the least leached soils were sampled deepest and closest to the coal waste level, where even C2 naphthalenes were preserved. In PAHs distribution predominate 4- to 5-rings compounds, however also heavier 6-rings PAHs were found.

The results show that coal waste dump soil, even there where self-heating is absent, can contain significant amounts of PAHs making it a potential source of contamination spreading, particularly during dry seasons when soil dusting occurs or due to leaching by rain water to nearby water reservoirs.

How to cite: Śmiszek-Lindert, W., Fabiańska, M., Marynowski, L., and Barczyk, M.: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their derivatives in soils developing on coal waste dumps from the Upper Silesia, Poland, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15014,, 2024.

REMINDNET- A network for the Recovery of Mining District
(withdrawn after no-show)
Jindřich Šancer, Stefan Möellerherm, Eva Kluzová, Jiří Mužák, Veiko Karu, Ana Fociro, Vancho Adjijski, Tansel Dogan, and Peter Schwendner