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Abstract

Mine drainage and discharge of salt waters into water bodies belong to main environmental issues, which must be appropriately addressed by the underground coal mining industry. The large area of exploited and abandoned mine fields in the Upper Silesia Coal Basin, as well as the geological structure of the rock mass and its hydrogeological conditions require the draining and discharge of about 119 million m3/yr of mine waters. Increasing the depth of mining and the necessity of protection of mines against water hazard result in increased amounts of chlorides and sulphates in the mine waters, even by decreasing the total coal output and the number of mines. The majority of the salts are being discharged directly into rivers, partly under control of salt concentration, however from the point of the view of environment protection, the most favorable way of their utilization would be technologies allowing the bulk use of saline waters. Filling of underground voids represents a group of such methods, from which the filling of goaves (cavings) is the most effective. Due to large volume of voids resulting from the extraction of coal and taking the numerous limitations of this method into account, the potential capacity for filling reaches about 17.7 million m3/yr of cavings and unnecessary workings. Considering the limited availability of fly ash, which is the main component of slurries being in use for the filling of voids, the total volume of saline water and brines, which could be utilized, has been assessed as 3,5–6,5 million m3/yr
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