There's something in the water: Geologists test the impact of Co2 in Pennsylvanian coal mine drainage
An investigation of the impact of carbon dioxide released from 140 coal mines in the Pennsylvania region is under way, led by the West Virginia University.
The investigation will examine the measure of carbon dioxide in mine drainage water, as there are currently no accurate methods to measure the volume of Co2 and pH levels in the drainage.
Dorothy Vesper, an associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University and other colleagues, are conducting the investigation.
“Many people calculate carbon dioxide from alkalinity, or the capability of water to neutralize acid, so the pH has to be above five, but if you have a lot of carbon dioxide dissolved in the water, it forces the pH to fall below five and people just dismiss it and ignore it," Vesper said.
"A lot of those very low pH waters have plenty of carbon dioxide in them."
Mine drainage is a by-product of areas active in ore or coal mining. Mine drainage has unfortunately always been linked with contamination of local drinking water as well as damaging the life cycle of local vegetation.
Using measurements from several sites and estimated values from United States Geological Survey data for 140 Pennsylvania mines, the team calculated the amount of carbon dioxide released from abandoned coal mines.
The investigation will allow Vesper to conduct future tests across more mine sites – and therefore create a better understanding of the true impact of Co2 in mine-drainage.
"I think right now, the next thing I want to do is get a better handle on this and get a much more quantitative assessment at more sites," Vesper said.
Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant
Brazilian miner Vale SA will be able to resume operations at its Timbopeba iron ore dry processing plant in up to two months thanks to the use of an unmanned train, the company said in a statement this week.
Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant
With the train, Timbopeba will be able to operate at least at 80% of its capacity of 33,000 tonnes of iron ore “fines” per day, reports Reuters.
Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.
Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.
But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.
The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.
Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has reached the milestone of first ore production at the Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project in Northern Labrador, Canada - recognised as the safest mine in Canada.