Environmental hydrogeochemistry of mine waste

The release of salts from coal mine waste rocks (spoils) can potentially affect the surface and groundwater quality and the quality in final voids. Current hydrogeochemical salt balance models either assume that the total amount of inherent salts in spoils will be released over time or often predict increasing project water salinity into the future based on site monitoring data from electrical conductivity measurements. The closure and rehabilitation of spoil piles and final voids based on such model outputs can be overly conservative, expensive and uncertain. 

My PhD aims to investigate the salt generation and release dynamics from spoils through laboratory experiments, meso-scale experiments and modelling approach. The outcome of my PhD would yield more reliable, evidence-based predictions of salinity loads from different type of spoil piles. In addition, the newly developed standard sampling and leaching procedures which have been developed from test work on spoils from different mine sites and geological strata with varying properties will help facilitate the communication of results with the regulator and broader community.


Karan Jain holds a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from India and Master's of Science degree in Environmental Pollution Control from the Pennsylvania State University USA. Karan is a recipient of UQ Research Training Scholarship award at UQ for his PhD and has also received Graduate Assistantship Award from the Pennsylvania State University for his Master's degree. At SMI, Karan is also involved in organisation of workshops and short courses on Acid and Metalliferous Drainage (AMD). 


Karan's PhD project falls within the ACARP C28043 Scale up leaching tests for spoil salinity predictions


Dr Mansour Edraki & Professor Neil McIntyre


1) M. Edraki, K. Jain, N. McIntyre, Hilton., M, T. Baumgartl, and M. Shaygan (2021): Prediction of long-term salt generation from coal spoils, Life of Mine 2021, 28-30 April 2021, Brisbane and Online, AusIMM, ISBN 978-1-925100-95-2

2)  Jain, K. R., Edraki, M., and McIntyre, N.: Prediction of salt release from coal mine spoils at meso-scale, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13651, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13651, 2021.

3) Edraki, Mansour., McIntyre, Neil., and Jain, Karan Risahbhkumar (2021). Scale up leaching tests for spoil salinity predictions. Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP C28043).

3) Jain, Karan R., Kakuturu, Sai P. and Clark, Shirley E. (2019).Effects of deicing salts on soil infiltration rate and pollutant uptake. World Environmental and Water Resources Congress / 19th Annual Congress of the Environmental-and-Water-Resources-Institute (EWRI) / EWRI History and Heritage Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA United States, 19-23 May 2019. New York, NY United States: American Society of Civil Engineers. doi: 10.1061/9780784482360.005.