ISSN 1062-7391, Journal of Mining Science, 2017, Vol. 53, No. 5, pp. 882–889. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2017.
Original Russian Text © V.I. Cheskidov, A.S. Bobyl’sky, 2017, published in Fiziko-Tekhnicheskie Problemy Razrabotki Poleznykh Iskopaemykh, 2017, No. 5,
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Technology and Ecology of Dumping
at Open Pit Mines in Kuzbass
V. I. Cheskidov* and A. S. Bobyl’sky
Chinakal Institute of Mining, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Novosibirsk, 630091 Russia
Received September 1, 2017
Abstract—The methods and means of overburden dumping at open pit coal mines in Kuzbass are reviewed.
Specific features of dumping are highlighted, and the dependence of dump stability on geological conditions
and physical properties of overburden is determined. The priority lines of development in the dumping
technology are aimed at efficient utilization of mined-out areas in open pits and idle hydraulic fills. The
issues of the environmental safety of dumping are addressed.
Keywords: Open pit mines, dumping, overburden, extrenal and internal dumps, hydraulic fills, process flow
charts, environmental safety.
Mining industry produces more than 200 minerals worldwide, out of which 90% of rocks is
extracted using the open pit method. Total mass of removed overburden exceeds 100 Bt . At the
present day in Russia, more than 30 open pit mines operate at the depth below 150 m (iron ore—more
than 300 m; nonferrous metals—400–600 m; asbestos—400–600 m, open pit coal mines in Kuzbass
and Ekibastuz—300–600 m). Round 70% of open pit mines producing coal and metals will reach the
depth of 700 m in the short term. Open pit mining results in accumulations of waste—man-made
bodies composed of gangue, dressing rejects, ash, slag and slurry—which drastically affect human
environment, flora and fauna.
Mines in Russia annually disturb the territory of 150 thou ha in whole, for instance, production of
1 Mt of coal ends with the disturbance of 2.6 to 43 ha agricultural land. The heaviest alteration of
ground surface and environmental pollution falls at the open pit mining method in which coal
production makes to 75%. In Russia and other developed economies, out of total area of mining lease,
20–45% is taken by external dumps and round 13% by tailings ponds, which means withdrawal of
10–15 thou ha of agricultural land yearly. The cost of overburden dumping at open pit coal mines
equals 12–25% of the cost of 1 m
The negative consequences are particularly pronounced in the leading coal mining region in
Russia—Kuzbass that produces more than half coal in the country, including 63% of open pit
mining . The most severe impact is exerted by external dumps which take 50–70% of the ground
surface disturbed by open pit mines and quarries. Moreover, the adjacent area is subjected to
contamination and dewatering (cones of influence). Continuing conventional coal mining by the open
pit method in Kuzbass will even more affect the environment. By experts’ estimates, it is expected
that land withdrawal will exceed the land area disturbed by the operating and abandoned open pit coal
mines in Kuzbass over the whole period of surface coal mining, including regions with the highly
developed agriculture [3, 4].