A combined mathematical geophysical model for prediction of pyrite oxidation and pollutant leaching associated with a coal washing waste dump

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The waste produced by coal washing process produces many environmental problems. In this study, the pollution problems associated with the waste produced by Alborz Sharghi Coal Washing Plant was investigated by mathematical modeling. The study area is located at 11 km. to Razmjah coal region and 45 km. to Tehran-Mashhad road in the north part od Iran. To achieve the goal, a few samples were taken from different depths at three points on the waste dump in order to investigate pyrite oxidation and pollution generation. The samples were then analysed, using an AA–670 Shimadzu atomic absorption to determine the fraction of pyrite remained within the waste particles. A numerical finite volume model using Phoenics package has been developed to simulate pyrite oxidation and pollution generation from the Alborz Sharghi coal washing waste dump. The pyrite oxidation reaction is described by the shrinking-core model. Gaseous diffusion is the main mechanism for the transport of oxygen through the waste. The results of numerical modelling were compared with the field observations and close agreement was achieved. A simple mathematical model incorporating advection and hydrodynamic dispersion processes was also presented in order to verify the results of geophysical time-laps method showing transportation of the pollutants through the downstream of the waste dump. Both mathematical model and geophysical time-laps method are agreed in the identification of pollutant transport emanated from the waste dump. The results of such investigations can be used for designing an effective environmental management program.

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