The contemporary underground mining of raw minerals is more and more associated with geological and mining software packages which support the work of designers from the moment of the exploration of a deposit, determination of its size and quality, geological, hydrogeological and tectonic conditions, by planning the development and cutting of the deposit. Production planning is one of the most important activities carried out in the course of a mining project, because it allows to set specific production results of a mine in relation to a time unit, and then allows for a verification of the degree of completion of the assumed plan. At present, computer-aided design is applicable to daily or long-term output planning taking deposit, qualitative, quantitative and cost constraints into account. In the article, selected forms of ore deposits were presented. On the basis of several dozen boreholes up to 300m in length, an exemplary fragment of the ore cutting model using computer-aided design of mining works was presented. By using modern computer software - ABB MineScape with modular construction, the possibilities of improving the process of development of future exploitation areas have been determined. In particular, the arrangement of boreholes, based on which ones the cross sections were made with, present the exemplary lithostratigraphic thickness of layers, including the location of discontinuous deformations in the form of faults, and an ore bearing zone. For the block model, resources with priority for metal N o. 1 and 2 were calculated. I n the last section of the article, the cutting idea for a shallow ore deposit has been presented. The degree of effective use of the deposit has been analysed for the room and pillar mining method.
Mechanical components and tools in modern industry are facing increasing performance requirements leading to the growing need for advanced materials and thus, for modern frictional systems. In the last decades, the Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) has emerged as an unique tool to grow high quality mono- as well as multilayers surfaces in metallic/ceramic systems. Building up a knowledge base of tribological properties of industrially-scaled, room temperature deposited PLD hard coatings are the most important step for the application of these coatings in engineering design. Although single-layer coatings find a range of applications, there are an increasing number of applications where the properties of a single material are not sufficient. One way to surmount this problem is to use a multilayer coating. Application of metallic interlayers improves adhesion of nitride hard layer in multilayer systems, which has been used in PVD processes for many years, however, the PLD technique gives new possibilities to produce system comprising many bilayers at room temperature. Tribological coatings consisted of 2, 4 and 16 bilayers of Cr/CrN and Ti/TiN type were fabricated with the Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) technique in the presented work. It is found in transmission electron examinations on thin foils prepared from cross-section that both nitride-based multilayer structures studied are characterized by small columnar crystallite sizes and high defect density, what might rise their hardness but compromise coating adhesion. The intermediate metallic layers contained larger sized and less defective columnar structure compared to the nitride layers, which should improve the coatings toughness. Switching from single layer to multi-layer metal/nitride composition improved resistance to delamination.
In Poland, according to the statistical data, about 40% of sewage sludges originating from wastewater treatment plants are applied in the agriculture. The mentioned way of application of sewage sludges causes the hazard of contamination of environment with carcinogenic compounds due to the presence of some organic micropollutants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The proposal of changing UE Directive obligates control of organic pollutants (PAHs and others) in sewage sludges applied in the agriculture. The aim of the investigations was to estimate the persistence of PAHs under stored conditions by determining half-life of their decomposition. Eight carcinogenic PAHs, among 16 compounds, listed by EPA were determined. In this study, the quantity changes in the concentration of PAHs in stored sewage sludges were investigated. Sewage sludges were stored under aerobic conditions for 16 weeks. At the same time the sewage sludges with sodium azide added, in order to deactivate the microorganisms (abiotic samples), were also stored. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to qualify and quantify PAHs in 2- and 4-week intervals. Sewage sludges were taken two fold from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. In practice, the sewage sludges are directed to the disposal site. The initial concentration of 16 PAHs in sewage sludge was equal to 582 μg/kg.d.m. The changes in the concentration of PAHs corresponded to exponential function. Values of correlation coefficients indicate a significant dependence of PAHs persistence and concentration on time exposition. Under experimental conditions the half-lives of individual compounds were diversed. In biotic samples half-life of hydrocarbons was in the range of 17 to 126 days. Half-life of PAHs in abiotic sewage sludges was in the range of 32 to 2048 days. The most persistent were benzo(a)pyrene and benzo(b) fluoranthene, respectively. A significant dependence of PAHs' decrease on the presence of microorganisms in sewage sludges after 10 weeks of storage was found.
The functioning of European economies and societies requires a stable and sustainable supply of mineral resources. For 10 years now EU has been developing raw materials initiative to secure European minerals supply. In many cases, areas with known or hypothetic mineral resources, are not sufficiently valued by society and authorities, remain unprotected and face competing land uses with the risk of becoming sterilized. MINATURA 2020 project was born out of a need to develop a harmonised framework which allow a common way of identifying “mineral deposits of public importance” (MDoPI) and their safeguarding via land use planning. The project has left a useful set of guidelines and proposals how to advance on the creation of a European network of MDoPIs to avoid sterilization of “deposits worth safeguarding”. In Poland, the need for legal protection of mineral deposits has been discussed intensively in recent years. Various proposals aimed at better system of mineral deposits safeguarding, especially those which should be recognized as of public importance, have been proposed. However, until now only a few coal deposits were recognized as strategic. Currently, the Polish National Mineral Policy is under preparation. Its overriding objective is to provide access to the necessary minerals, also in the longterm perspective. It assumes among others activities aimed at protection of mineral deposits regarding land use planning system. Paper presents scope and general results of MINATURA2020 project, with details on MINATURA2020 methodology implementation in Poland, Project of the Polish National Mineral Policy with its objectives and key pillars, position of MDoPIs in this Project, and – finally – expected future steps related to MDoPI safeguarding in EU and in Poland.
Mineral deposits are such type of assets, the valuation of which can be carried out in a very diverse manner. Methods and procedures for such a valuation are most often applied to mineral deposits with mineral reserves (according to the CRIRSCO classification), much less frequently and usually only using a comparative approach for undeveloped, initially recognized mineral deposits (with mineral resources). In Poland, a significant portion of mineral deposits, mainly of energy, metal and chemical minerals, are covered by the so-called mining property of the Treasury. At the moment, there is a lack of consistent and thoughtful management of these deposits. The appropriate methodology for valuing these deposits, which are at various stages of recognition (sometimes also of development), should be one of the key elements of such management. The State Treasury usually disposes of mining rights by “establishing” mining usufruct in the form of a contract, with the determination of remuneration for this establishment. The rules for determining remuneration for the establishment of mining usufruct are determined on the basis of an internal informal document of the Ministry of the Environment with very simplified rules for determining this remuneration, to a very limited extent related to the actual value of the deposit, which is also variable over time. This fee should be in close relation to the value of the mineral deposit valued at a given moment, taking the current conditions, including technological, environmental, formal and legal, and – in particular – market conditions into account. The valuation of mineral deposits covered by mining property, except for current needs in determining the basis for remuneration for mining usufruct establishing, should also be used to determine the value of these deposits annually as part of the State Treasury property and to present its results as part of the State Treasury Property Status Report. It is an open matter whether the methodology of valuation of the discussed mineral deposits should be based on accepted and widely used solutions for the valuation of mineral deposits for the purposes of business transactions or based on methodology of valuation of deposits as part of the planned system of Integrated Environmental and Economic National Account (up to date poorly developed). The paper presents the most important elements of both methodological approaches. It seems that the use of selected elements of each of these approaches would be advisable in this case.
The basis for a mineral deposit delimitation is a qualitative and quantitative assessment of deposit parameters, qualifying a deposit as an economically valuable object. A conventional approach to the mineral deposit recognition and a deposit detailed parameters qualification in the initial stages of development work in the KGHM were presented in the paper. The goals of such recognition were defined, which through a gradual detailed expansion, resulting from the information inflow, allows for the construction of a more complete decision-making model. The description of the deposit parameters proposed in the article in the context of fuzzy logic, enables a presentation of imprecise statements and data, which may be a complement to a traditional description. Selected non-adjustable and adjustable s-norm and t-norm operators were demonstrated. Operators effects were tested for selected ore quality parameters (copper content and deposit thickness) by constructing adequate membership functions. In a practical application, the use of chosen fuzzy logic operators is proposed for the assessment of the qualitative parameters of copper-silver ore in the exploitation blocks for one of the mines belonging to KGHM Polish Copper S.A. The considerations have been extended by including the possibility of using compensation operators.
The operational mineral deposit reconnaissance tends to evaluate its parameters to conduct safe and profitable production. Particular deposit parameters, important from the point of mineral deposit management, are estimated on the basis of observations carried out by mining geological surveys. These observations usually involve sampling, drilling, laboratory analyses and others. The use of fuzzy description to assess the parameters of the mineral deposit was proposed in the paper. In the fuzzy characteristics, an imprecise descriptive description appeared in place of a particular numerical quantity. This approach was used to description of the ore deposit features (metal content, volume, and metal yield) by assigning them specific characteristic functions, whose distributions were based on basic statistical quantities. Characteristic functions can be used to prepare operational strategies for any configuration of required deposit parameters resulting from the production management needs. For this purpose, selected logical operators of fuzzy sets were used. In the next approach to fuzzy modeling, an opportunity to characterize the deposit in a subjective approach was indicated, where the assessment of the deposit parameters is based on rough, in some way, discretionary observation and evaluation. Such model construction enabled the overall assessment of the deposit from the point of view of any parameters. Through the implementation of appropriate inference rules, adequate fuzzy control planes were obtained, which may also be useful in the context of operational mine strategy planning.
A sea floor investigation was performed in the fiord of Hornsund by means of the seismoacoustic profiling, echosounding and core sampling. The main seismoacoustic sea floor units were recognized (the methods used according to Kowalewski et al. 1987a) and characterized on the basis of their relations to geomorphology and geological evolution. The bathymetrical sketch and the resulting geomorphological description of the bottom were prepared. The surface of the sea bottom and the surface of the bedrock displayed an irregular high relief with large sills dividing the fiord sea floor into several basins. Four main types of the sills were distinguished: burried sills, accumulative sills, rock sills and rock-accumulative sills. Within the internal Basins I and II there were thick (up to 170 m) covers of the glaciomarine ice-front deposit with changing thin ( 1 -5 m) blanket of the glaciomarine muds at the bottom surface. The Basin III had a cover of the glacial and glaciomarine deposits of variable lithology, genesis and age. The most external Basin IV had a cover o f glaciomarine muds up to 4 0 - 5 0 m thick, deposited on the tills. Four main glacial episodes were recognized, most probably referring to the stadials of Lisbetdalen, Slaklidalen, Revdalen and to the Little Ice Age.
Heavy minerals in sandur deposits from the forefield of the Renard Glacier were investigated. They are concentrated only in fractions below 0.1 mm in diameter. Composition and preservation of heavy minerals indicate very high dynamic in the sedimentary environment. Most resistant minerals as zircon and tourmaline predominate and are strongly crumbled. They probably may serve as mineral indicators of sandur deposits. If distinguished regularities are confirmed in forefield in other Spitsbergen sandurs, then contemporary and Pleistocene sandur deposits could be compared. No mineralogie differentiation of intra- and extramorainal sandurs was noted.
“Mineral deposit model”, “deposit modelling” are the terms commonly used, although imprecise. This is often identified as the application of computerized methods to the elaboration and presentation of geological information, in particular for the mining design. Deposit modelling is the mode of presentation of deposit features, which in the meaning of the authors of such presentation, describes the deposit features between the points of observations as best as possible. Deposit modelling has a long history (XVI-XVII centuries), however such a term was not used. Varied methods of cartographic presentation of deposits and their features were proposed. The progress in the presentation of the deposit in space using isolines maps has led to the separation of methods of deposits geometrisation. Over time, a simple mathematical statistics method was used to describe the deposit parameters, followed by geostatistical methods. Some of them were however not commonly used as too troublesome. The computer based approach to the presentation of geological data has an unquestionable value but is accompanied by the possibility of inappropriate formalized and erroneous interpretations and a presentation as to whether the basic rules of geological knowledge were neglected. Deposits modeling is a conceptual task and cannot be fully automated.
The article characterizes geological formations occurring in the Polish lignite deposits having the characteristics of raw materials, i.e. accompanying minerals, giving their location, quality characteristics, estimated resources and potential applications. Attention has also been paid to the economic suitability, e.g. in infrastructure works and for the reclamation of many geological formations found in the overburden, classified as so-called earth or rock mass. There are also raw materials of sorption properties representing a huge potential source of minerals valuable for the economy and environmental protection. This refers to e.g.: beidellite clays from Bełchatów, Poznań clays from the region of Konin and Adamów, lacustrine chalk from Bełchatów, as well as Mesozoic limestone from the lignite bedding in Bełchatów. The reasons for the unsatisfactory use of accompanying minerals have been given. The authors described the methods used in the mining operation and processing of associated minerals, also applicable in Poland, as the legal basis for the extraction of these minerals and the economic and financial conditions. They stressed the need to protect mined not associated minerals used by the construction of anthropogenic deposits. This activity primarily requires regulating the legal status of these deposits and the development and application of an economic and financial system that stimulates the economy of these minerals. In summary, the necessary actions were taken to increase the use of the accompanying minerals and their contribution to the balance of mineral resources in the country.
Ornithogenic tundra developing near large seabird colonies with its dense vegetation creates sites for foraging, hiding and breeding of herbivores. Grazing, trampling and faeces deposition are considered as the most important ways that vertebrate herbivores influence the plants. Excrement deposition level informs us on the intensity of grazing i.e. foraging ground attractiveness. We have compared vertebrate herbivores’ faeces deposition (biomass) in the vicinity of big colonies of piscivorous (kittiwake Rissa tridactyla and Brünnich’s guillemot Uria lomvia) and planktivorous (little auk Alle alle) seabirds and the control area was in Hornsund, SW Spitsbergen. Much higher level of faeces deposition was recorded nearby seabird colonies as compared to the control area. These finding points out that vertebrate herbivores concentrate and feed more intensively on rich ornithogenic pastures. Number of herbivores and their faeces deposition level recorded nearby planktivorous seabird colony were greater as compared to those found nearby the colony of piscivores. The highest number of geese (Branta bernicla and Anser brachyrhynchus) and of their faeces biomass were found near the colony of planktivorous little auk, where distinct gradient in faeces deposition level along the colony-seashore axis was recorded. Reindeers Rangifer tarandus were observed in considerable numbers near the little auk colony, and were not recorded at all near cliff-nesting sites of kittiwakes and guillemots. Total deposition of excrements produced by geese was generally higher if compared to reindeers.
Water reaches a river in the form of surface runoff (precipitation that has not seeped into the ground) or underground outflow (groundwater). Both of these factors affect the erosion and river deposition processes that shape the river valley. Understanding them is crucial for effective river management.
The Passhatten Member (Anisian–Ladinian) is the most westward exposure of the Middle Triassic sedimentary sequence of Spitsbergen. The member has an average organic carbon of 2.21 wt %. The sediments were deposited in a shallow shelf environment under conditions of high biological productivity stimulated by a well−developed upwelling system and an enhanced nutrient supply from land areas. The high biological productivity caused a high supply of organic particles to the shelf bottom. Decomposition of organic matter initiated oxygen deficiency in the bottom waters; however, bottom water dynamics on the shallow shelf temporarily replenished the oxygen. Consequently, the Passhatten Mb section is bioturbated, even in thick black shale horizons and consists of alternately spaced lithological layers with variable organic carbon content. The organic matter is dominated by type II kerogen with a mixture of strongly altered marine and/or land derived organic matter. Calculated initial hydrogen index values suggest oil−prone organic matter similar to kerogen I and II types. The organic matter is in the upper intermediate stage of thermo−catalytic alteration, close to the cata− and metagenetic boundary. Maturity indicators including Rock−Eval, Maximum Temperature, Organic Matter Transformation Ratio, Residual Carbon content, as well as the volume of methane generated suggest mature to overmature organic matter. Methane potential retained in the black shales sequence is significant. Unexpelled gas is estimated at 395 mcf/ac−ft for the examined section.
The correlation-regression method, as one of the indirect sampling methods, is only sporadically used in geological and mining activities. Theoretically, it should be particularly useful for predicting the content of some chemical components in limestone and marl deposits due to the correlation between them. The results of simple and multiple correlation and regression analysis for 5 selected components (CaO, SiO2, Al2O3, MgO, and SO3), determined in samples from exploratory boreholes and blast holes carried out in the Barcin-Piechcin-Pakość deposit, are presented in the article. The determination coefficients were used as a measure of the correlation power and the quality of the regression models. A very strong linear correlation between CaO and SiO2 content and strong linear correlations between CaO and Al2O3 and SiO2 with Al2O3 have been found. The correlation relationships of the remaining pairs of oxides are weak or very weak and do not provide a basis for prediction of their content based on regression models binding them with the content of other components. The use of nonlinear models for these pairs of oxides results in only a slight improvement in the quality of regression, insignificant from a practical point of view. The application of multiple regression models, linking the content of the mentioned components (with the exception of CaO), leads to similar conclusions. Compared to the determination coefficients of a simple linear correlation, a strong increase in determination coefficients obtained in two cases was found to be artificial and caused by a correlation between the content of the selected components acting as independent variables. From the geological and mining point of view, the results of the analysis indicate the possibility of a fully reliable prediction of SiO2 content and the limited reliability of the Al2O3 content prediction when the CaO content is determined using simple linear regression models.
Zinc concentrations in apices [Zn 2+]apex of the lichens, Cladonia arbuscula and C. rangiferina were determined along transects through two sub-Arctic towns in the Usa River Basin, northeast European Russia. One transect, which was 130 km long running in an east-west direction, passed through the town of Vorkuta and the other transect, which was 240 km long running in a southwest-northeast direction, passed through Inta. Zinc accumulation in lichens, which was detected 25-40 km within the vicinity of Vorkuta, was largely attributed to local emissions of alkaline coal ash from coal combustion. The present results using C. arbuscula around Vorkuta are consistent with those of previous studies suggesting that this lichen is a useful bioindicator for trace metals. There was no such elevation of [Zn 2+]apex detected in C. rangiferina along the transect running through Inta.
The presented article describes the relationship between lithological and facies development of reservoir rocks in the area of the roof elevation of the Weissliegend sandstones, with a particular emphasis on the influence of elevation on the occurrence of low mineralization zones in the deposit area. To illustrate the variability of the deposit parameters, closely related to the facies and lithological conditions of the host rocks, three-dimensional lithological and geochemical models for two research areas were developed using the geostatistical methods and based on field observations and the sampling of the deposit. The research area includes parts of the Northern Elevation of Rudna and the surrounding depressions within the boundaries of the Sieroszowice and Rudna deposits. Based on cross-sections of the 3D models, a different deposit formation in the roof elevation area of sandstone formations has been characterized; the lithological profile is defined as „atypical” due to the absence of a copper-bearing shale series, the most characteristic layer for copper ore deposits in the Fore -Sudetic monocline. Large variations in the shape of the deposit and the irregular boundaries of both balance mineralization and enclaves of gangue have been confirmed. The presence of large-scale enclaves of igneous rock in the entire profile of the Lower Zechstein rocks (areas without the balance copper mineralization) and small areas of gangue (sandstone) enriched with anhydrite binders adjacent to the parts of balance deposit located in argillaceous sandstone has been revealed. The possibility of the occurrence of gangue, in the area of the roof elevation of the Weissliegend sandstones directly adjacent to the border with calcareous dolomite, and irregular gangue partings in sandstone formations in the balance deposit was indicated. In addition, small areas of strong enrichment in Cu sulphides were observed in the contact zones between sulphate and clay binders in the Weissliegend sandstone series.
The problem of deposit protection and the process of liquidation of mining plants does not find effective solutions in the national law. Nevertheless, this is a very up-to-date issue. This situation prompted the authors of the article to once again analyze these issues. The number of abandoned exploitation sites which were published in the Polish Geological Institute reports should affect the entire licensing system and the state’s raw material policy. As a good host of raw materials, which we have been given by Earth Mother, we cannot allow that the mining licensing system, the liquidation procedures of mining plants without due diligence, result in the lack of protection of these deposits. The rational raw material economy and the ability to exploit it for the future generations, while failing to effectively enforce the site liquidation process makes it necessary to take actions leading to not blocking the mineral deposits in this way. The analysis shows what appropriate actions should be taken. The authors have thoroughly investigated the legal regulations over the past century, compiling them with the current legislation, and pointing out the weaknesses of the system in the field of deposits protection, particularly in the part of the unexploited deposits. Criticism covered both the statutory regulations – Geological and mining law as well as executive acts in the field of deposit protection. A separate analysis was subjected to the procedure of liquidation of the mining plants in the aspect of deposits protection, for mining plants operating on the basis of the Province Marshal’s licenses. The process presented in the flowchart layout clearly shows the weak points of the currently operating system.
The presented article contains an analysis resulting from 10 years’ experience in the implementation of the POLVAL Code to mineral assets valuations carried out by Competent Valuators. It had been based on data of more than 100 performed valuations. First and foremost, challenges resulting from preferences given by various relevant regulations to the application of a market-based approach were identified. It was underlined that they prompt Valuators to compromise the quality of the database containing reference transactions. In the case of an income based approach, issues resulting from the adoption of estimates and subjective assumptions were discussed. It was indicated that this fact alone cannot create a valid argument to reject the results of such a valuation providing that they have been implemented in a coherent manner and uncertainty was reflected in the value of the applied discount rate. Separately recommended changes to the present version of the POLVAL Code were presented. In conclusion, a significant, positive role of the introduction of the POLVAL Code for the structuring processes of mineral asset valuation was indicated.
The article discusses the problem of the supply of a by-product, which is synthetic gypsum produced as a result of flue gas desulphurization in conventional power plants. The state of production and forecast for the future are presented. Currently, synthetic gypsum is almost entirely used as a raw material in the gypsum products plant located in the immediate vicinity of the power plant. Since the mid-1990s, in Poland, an increase in the production of synthetic gypsum associated with the construction of a flue gas desulphurization installation in Polish conventional power plants has been observed. In the near future, the upward trend will continue in connection with the construction of new coal units in power plants. Significant surpluses of this raw material will appear on the market, which will not be used on an ongoing basis in the production of gypsum components. However, due to the EU’s restrictive policy towards energy based on coal and lignite, within the next few decades, the share of conventional power plants in energy production will be gradually reduced. As a consequence, the supply of synthetic gypsum will also gradually decrease. Therefore, it is advisable to properly store the surplus of this raw material so that it can be used in the future. Taking this into account, it is already necessary to prepare methods for storing the expected surpluses of synthetic gypsum. For this purpose, post-mining open pits are particularly suitable, especially in mines of rock raw materials. The article proposes a legal path enabling the post-mining open pits to be transformed into a anthropogenic gypsum deposit.
The exploitation and processing of lignite in the Bełchatów region is connected with the formation of various mineral waste materials: varied in origin, mineral and chemical composition and raw material properties of the accompanying minerals, ashes and slags from lignite combustion and reagipsum from wet flue gas desulphurisation installations. This paper presents the results of laboratory tests whose main purpose was to obtain data referring to the potential use of fly ashes generated in the Bełchatów Power Plant and selected accompanying minerals exploited in the Bełchatów Mine in the form of self-solidification mixtures. The beidellite clays were considered as the most predisposed for use from the accompanying minerals , due to pozzolanic and sorption properties and swelling capacity. Despite the expected beneficial effects of clay minerals from the smectite group on the self-settling process as well as the stability of such blends after solidification, the results of physical-mechanical tests (compressive strength and water repellence) were unsatisfactory. It was necessary to use Ca (OH)2, obtained from the lacustrine chalk as an activator of the self-settling process It was necessary to use lacustrine chalk as an activator of the self-solidification process. The presence of calcium will allow the formation of cement phases which will be able to strongly bond the skeletal grains. Also, the addition of reagipsum to the composition of the mixture would contribute to the improvement of the physico-mechanical parameters. The elevated SO4 2– ion in the mixture during the solidification allows for the crystallization of the sulphate phases in the pore space to form bridges between the ash and clay minerals. The use of mixtures in land reclamation unfavourably transformed by opencast mining in the Bełchatów region would result in measurable ecological and economic benefits and would largely solve the problem of waste disposal from the from the operation and processing of lignite energy.
Observations of the surface of the Petuniabukta tidal flat showed the occurrence of dead forms indicating a relative lowering of the sea level. Under the silt deposits of the tidal flat a gravel-clay series was found to occur. Connecting this series with the glacial till covering the lowest marine terrace and with the erosion pavement in the lowest part of the outwaśh plain gave rise to the hypothesis that there might be a record of glacier oscillation. By dating a sample taken from the gravel series substrate, the age of the oscillation was estimated at less than 6370+/- 120 years BP.
An attempt to summarize the primary iron raw materials and steel market’s hundred years history as well as influence of economic indicators on the iron ore deposit qualification for extraction has been undertaken in the paper. Steel products are crucial to the world economy, and their production has a major impact on the environment. The main factor is the huge scale of the production and growth rate, unprecedented among minerals. Iron ore and concentrates production has increased more than thirty times over the past century, and the geological resource base at the current level of consumption has provided almost 250 years of sufficiency. There have been tremendous changes in the world geography of the ore and steel industry. The iron ore mining industry is the driver of other economic activities (land transport, freight, metallurgy) and involves huge capital and human resources. The consumption of iron raw materials is also considered as an important indicator of the countries development and current or even future economic situation. Population growth remains one of the key stimulating factors. The prices of ore and iron concentrates depend on the quality of the raw material, delivery conditions, market balance and the weight of the ordered cargo. They are usually the subject of negotiations. In the past, they were long-term contracts, while short-term (yearly, quarterly) and current spot transactions are now significant. The prices of ores and concentrates in relation to steel prices are showing a strong correlation. The average iron content of the reserves has been reduced in the largest producers in the 21st century, however it does not translate into the quality of mining output. Exploitation of the richer parts of the mineral deposit is usually carried out. The high content of iron in the output is a response to the technological requirements of the metallurgy where the blast furnace charge should contain at least 56% Fe and 5–8% FeO. The current surplus of geological-mining supply (large resource base) justifies that a mineral deposit choice, destined for excavation, is economic profit maximization as well as social and environmental considerations.
There are approx. 250 coal waste dumping grounds in Poland, yet there are countries in which this number is even higher. One of the largest sites for depositing mining and power plant waste in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin is the Przezchlebie dumping ground. In the article, it is considered as a secondary deposit of raw materials. An assessment of mining waste collected on the Przezchlebie dumping ground was carried out in terms of its impact on the environment and the possibility of its use. Mining waste samples were tested to determine their chemical composition. Physicochemical properties and chemical compositions of water extracts obtained from the investigated waste and groundwater in the vicinity of the dumping ground were analyzed. Due to the fire hazard resulting from the natural oxidation process of chiefly carbonaceous matter and pyrite, the thermal condition of the dumping ground was assessed. The results of the obtained tests confirmed the slight impact of mining waste deposited on the Przezchlebie dumping ground on the environment. The chemical composition, low radioactive activity of waste itself and the results of water extract tests referred to the permissible values according to the Polish Journal of Laws allow for multi-directional waste management. Due to the significant carbon content, the risk of self-ignition poses a significant threat on the dumping ground. Re-mining of the dumping ground and the recovery of raw materials, including coal contained in waste, will eliminate the risk of fire, allowing for a wider use of waste and, at the same time, will allow for other benefits, e.g. in the form of financial resources and the possibility of managing the dumping ground area.