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Waste Rock Characterisation and Management at Kaltim Prima Coal

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  • Kaltim Prima Coal, an open cut coal mine located in Sangatta, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, operates two deep pits and two shallow pits with a truck and shovel operation. KPC produced 17 Mt of coal in 2002 by removing 120 Mbcm overburden. Geochemical investigations have indicated 20 per cent of total waste rock is potentially acid forming; ie it has the potential to create acid mine drainage (AMD). In the early years of the KPC operation, the presence of AMD had been observed in the mined out areas and in the waste rock dumps as a result of sulfidic waste rock exposure. A strategy for management of AMD from waste rock was implemented involving: sampling, analysis, modelling, selective handling and validation of final dump covers. Samples of the waste rock lithologies are collected from exploration drill holes for geochemical analysis to determine their acid generating potential. The geochemical database is used to develop the waste rock model for the life of mine pit areas. The acid forming and non-acid forming waste rock is delineated for each mining bench area for selective handling and placement within the waste rock dump during the operational stage. Each mining bench is sampled and assessed to validate the model predictions. The final dump cover is sampled to meet strict Quality Assurance requirements to ensure non-acid forming waste material is used in the outer cover of the dump. The geochemical investigation of the waste rock is integrated with mine planning to design and construct the waste rock dump to minimise the risk of generating acid. This process links the exploration stage, operation stage, and rehabilitation stage for each Pit area. The paper briefly reports the waste rock characterisation, waste modelling and strategies used for management of acid drainage by KPC.

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