Clean mining technology – “The light of hope that shines on all”

To produce electrical or thermal energy we need ever-increasing quantities of source materials. They include fossil fuels, which are all types of coal, natural gas, uranium, and petroleum. We cannot influence the total global reserves. What we can influence, however, are new methods of their extraction, where we process source materials efficiently and make use of wastes to generate energy. At the same time, we want to leave the Earth as green as possible for those who will come after us. This is the central message of the project ICT, or Institute of Clean Technologies of the VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, for extraction and use of energy source materials.

Their project tackles two primary tasks. First, they want to gather as much information as they can about the properties of the extracted source materials using modern instruments and use as many waste-less technologies as they can. In practice this means they seek new methods of using secondary source materials which they still call wastes. Then they have to find for them a market niche in different segments of industry.

The other task focuses on ecology and revitalization of mines after extraction. Extraction of raw materials is always an ecological intervention. The project aims to restore everything to the original state by soil remediation, reclamation and revitalization following mining activities. Simultaneously they endeavour to employ environmentally friendly technologies while mines and quarries are still in operation. And this works. A case in point is their collaboration with a producer of bituminous coal, OKD company, in introducing a new extraction method for coal reserves in protective pillars, which is also in use in Canada and the United States, and which prevents deformation and subsidence of the surface.

They also participate in many reclamation and remediation projects, such as those involving the spoil heaps Oskar and Václav, and they are currently addressing the issue of a spoil heap at the Heřmanice Mine in Ostrava. To get a better idea we will give you a concrete example from Heřmanice: Employing a new technology they want to use the residual content of coal in spoil heaps to generate electricity or another form of energy. They will then offer the re-sorted stone to the construction industry as another quality material.

Faculty of Mining and Geology, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, in association with specialists from Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Safety Engineering, Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, and Institute of Geonics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.