Long Term Salt Generation from Coal Spoils

Long Term Salt Generation from Coal Spoils (ACARP project 3025039)

The release of salts from spoil piles affects surface and groundwater quality particularly the quality of water 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.Bowen Basin

With support from ACARP (project C25039-Long term salt generation from coal spoils) and in-kind contributions from The University of Queensland, a medium scale (1-1.5 tonnes) spoil leaching test facility was set up in 2016 at UQ’s property in Pinjarra Hills to bridge the gap between small scale laboratory tests and field monitoring of real size spoil piles.

For the first time in Australia, an experimental facility has established more realistic decay curves of salt release from coal spoil over time. The facility, has produced leaching results for a small number of different spoil types in controlled moisture conditions that can be used for calibration of water quality predictive models. 

Project members

Mansour Edraki

Associate Professor Mansour Edraki

Group Leader - Environmental Geochemistry