Geotube Containment and Dewatering technology was used to dispose of slurry waste from North River Mine

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Courtesy of TenCate Geosynthetics Netherlands bv

At the North River Mine in Berry, AL, two waste streams are created from the processing plant, coarse rock and fine rock particles. Coming from the processing plant, the fine rock particles are suspended in water forming a slurry. This slurry is normally disposed of via surface impoundments or injected into abandoned underground mine workings. The volume of this waste stream is very significant and expensive to dispose of. At the North River Mine approximately 1,000 gallons per minute is created on a 24-hour basis.

In 2007, a possible interruption of the primary disposal methods due to new regulatory restrictions, available area, and construction scheduling prompted investigation of a third method of slurry handling. The mine needed to continue processing coal for shipment to be able to meet customer commitments. This required slurry disposal. Faced with finding an alternative disposal method, Mike Windle (left), Plant Supervisor at the North River Mine recalled a meeting he had with old friend and former colleague, Tim LeBlanc, J.F. Brennan Co. Tim had told Mike about using TenCate Geotube technology on projects where they were dredging contaminated sediments.

Combining Experience and Innovation

Mike made the decision early in life to pursue a career in mining. He earned his degree in mining engineering at the University of Alabama and like all long-time miners, during his career Mike has experienced boom and bust cycles. He was involved in shutting down mines and closing processing plants until the boom of recent years when coal demand shot up and prices along with it. Over his career, and during the past seven years working at North River Mine, he's seen lots of technologies come and go.

Mike Windle evaluated a number of interim alternatives for disposing the slurry waste. Geotube technology provided the benefits of containment and dewatering, stability of the dewatered cake for reclamation of the site and it eliminated rehandling the material. Mike invited Ed Trainer, Market Manager for TenCate and Tim LeBlanc to a meeting at the North River Mine to discuss how this innovative technology would work.

As the world's leading  provider of woven and non-woven geosynthetics and industrial fabrics, TenCate engineered a high strength textile for the application of containment and dewatering of mining residuals, contaminated sediments and sludge. TenCate's Geotube technology has been used to deliver high performance solutions around the globe in more than 50 countries. Since 1991, over 2,000 dewatering projects have used Geotube containers. One of the big advantages of Geotube dewatering technology is that it can be sized to fit the project. The technology is used in operations requiring massive amounts of capacity and in facilities needing dewatering once every quarter.

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