Mid Conference Excursion 4

Chaleges and perspectives of the closed Kizel coal basin

Mining in the Kizel coal basin had been carried out for more than 200 years. Over 35 million m3 of waste rocks had been accumulated in more than 70 tailingspiles. Mines were closed down in the 1990s, but their closure did not resolve the environmental issues. The cessation of mining led to a gradual restoration of the water table, which in turn posed a serious environmental issue. Twelve disused mine adits started to discharge water to the surface as the water was allowed to rise to its natural position. As a result of discharge, the hydrochemical facies of river water are characterized to be SO4–Fe–Al, with TDS between 640 and 6,000 mg/L, sulfate concentration between 1,000 and 3,700, iron between 70 and 900, aluminum between 11 and 160 mg/L, and pH of 2.5–2.9. 

Now, the zone of environmental impact exceeds 10 000 km2. Rivers play an important role in the long-range transport of pollutants from different sources of surface water pollution.

At present the territory of the closed Kizel basin is both ecologically and socially devastating zone. Federal and regional authorities have initiated some projects aimed to solve the ecological problems of this area.