Green Mining | Intelligent Mine Water Management – iMineWa
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Intelligent Mine Water Management – iMineWa

Name: Intelligent Mine Water Management

Acronym: iMineWa

Duration: 1.1.2014-31.12.2018

Total costs (€)/Tekes support  2485732€/1740000€

Leading research organization partner: Lappeenranta University of Technology

Contact persons: Professor Mika Sillanpää, Lappeenranta University of Technology (mika.sillanpaa(at),; Prof. Dr habil. Christian Wolkersdorfer, Tshwane University of Technology (christian(at),

Company partners: Yara Suomi Oy, Talvivaaran Kaivososakeyhtiö Oyj, Hydro Industries Ltd., Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy, Kemira Oyj, BT-Engineering Ltd, Geoderis, Teollisuuden Vesi Oy, Suomen Ekolannoite Oy, Solexperts SA (Pty) Ltd, Sanso Oy, Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy, Outotec Oyj, Metso Automation Oy, Sachtleben Pigments Oy, Nordkalk Oy Ab, Inkron Oy, Hyxo Oy, Hydro Industries Ltd., Haarla Oy, Akva Filter Oy, Golder Associates Oy

International partners: Tshwane University of Technology

Number of other publications and reports: 19

Need and motivation of the project:
The aim of this project is find the best available technologies not entailing excessive costs (BATNEEC principle) for optimization of mine water treatment by increasing the purification efficiency.

The main targets are:

  • To optimize the management of mine water in a mining operation by understanding the hydraulics of a mine and by improving the water management on site
  • To find low-cost adsorbents for the selective removal of various pollutants, such as arsenic, cyanides, cations and anions;
  • To use novel methodologies for surface area modification of chosen materials for increasing their capacity for mine water treatment.


Key results

In about a dozen of abandoned mines in Finland the water chemistry was studied and a potential mine site for a mine water tracer test identified. This tracer test, which will be conducted at the abandoned and flooded Metsämonttu near Aijala will help to understand the hydrodynamics of flooded underground mines which can be used to optimize the mine layout. In summer 2016 a large scale tracer test is planned at this site.

Electrocoagulation was used for removing sulfate from the Pyhäsalmi mine. Water analysis shows that the sulfate concentration was 13000 mg/L. The effects of reaction time, current density and type of sacrificial anode was investigated. It was revealed that at higher time of reaction, more sulfate was removed. Also, current density has shown to have a significant effect on the removal efficiency of sulfate. Specifically, among current density of 10, 40 and 70 mA/cm², 70 mA/cm² was observed to have a higher efficiency of removal compared to the other current densities. Type of anode as sacrificial electrode was revealed to have a substantial role in sulfate removal where an aluminium sacrificial anode showed better results than an iron sacrificial anode.

Nitrate removal with Fe0 was studied with three different Fe0 sources, including waste iron. The results showed that NO3 can be removed at low pH values, but the reaction time needs optimization to be used in industrial processes.

Solid waste from mine sites (iron sand and sulfate tailings) were studied for arsenic and cyanide removal from mine water. It was found that iron sand and one of sulfate tailing exhibit effective sorption properties for As(III) and As(V) after two modification methods were used (TiO2 and Al2O3 layers and modification with NaOH). These increased the arsenic removal to 97%. Currently, the sorbents can’t be used repeatedly as strong complexes are formed. However, these strong complexes prevent cyanide ions desorption into solution.

Commercialization measures and/or potential: At this stage of the project no information about commercialization is possible. Yet, part of the findings of this project already found input in a potential polymetallic mine site in Finnish Lapland.




Iakovleva, C. Wolkersdorfer, M. Sillanpää, Examples of eco-efficient Water and Solid Residues usage in Mining and Ore Processing in Finland. Mine Water and the Environmental (in preparation)

Research works

Lopes, Daniela V., Sillanpää, Mika, Wolkersdorfer, Christian: Performance of Fe0 in nano, micro and iron waste form for nitrate reduction from mine water (under review).

Iakovleva, E., Mika Sillanpää, Chirangano Mangwandi, Ahmad Albadarin, Stephen Allen, Philipp Maydannik, Ermei Mäkilä, Jarno Salonen, Khanita Kamwilaisak, Shaobin Wang, Reusing of sulphate tailigs for cyanides removal, under reviewing in Journal of Hazardous Materials.

Iakovleva, E.: Preparation of activated carbon from coffee waste as material for water treatment, in preparation

Iakovleva, E.: Removal of trace amount of Uranium from natural water by solid wastes containing iron compounds, in preparation

Iakovleva, E.: Synthesis of high-capacity adsorbents for pollutants removal from wastewater, in preparation

Iakovleva, E.: Low-cost adsorbents for mine waters treatment, Doctoral Thesis, in preparation.

Abdel Wahed, M. S. M., Mohamed, E. A., Wolkersdorfer, C., El-Sayed, M. I., M’nif, A. & Sillanpää, M. (2015): Assessment of water quality in surface waters of the Fayoum watershed, Egypt. – Environ. Earth Sci. 74(2): 1765-1783; 9 Fig., 3 Tab.; Heidelberg; doi:10.1007/s12665-015-4186-0.

Coldewey, W. G. & Wolkersdorfer, C. (2014): Professor Dr. Walter Semmler: A German Mine Water Pioneer. – Mine Water Environ. 33(4): 372–375; 3 Fig.; Heidelberg; doi:10.1007/s10230-014-0301-9.

Figueroa, L. & Wolkersdorfer, C. (2014): Electrochemical Recovery of Metals in Mining Influenced Water: State of the Art. – In: Sui, W., Sun, Y. & Wang, C. (eds): An Interdisciplinary Response to Mine Water Challenges. – p. 627-631; Xuzhou (International Mine Water Association).

Florence, K., Sapsford, D. J., Johnson, D. B., Kay, C. M. & Wolkersdorfer, C. (2015): Iron mineral accretion from acid mine drainage and its application in passive treatment. – Environ. Technol.:  7 Fig., 2 Tab.; doi:10.1080/09593330.2015.1118558.

Florence, K., Sapsford, D. J. & Wolkersdorfer, C. (2015): Mechanisms of Iron Removal during Passive Treatment of AMD in a Vertical Flow Reactor. – In: Brown, A., et al. (eds): Agreeing on solutions for more sustainable mine water management. – p. 1-11 [electronic document]; Santiago/Chile (Gecamin); doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.1463.9121.

Fyffe, L., Coetzee, H. & Wolkersdorfer, C. (2015): Cost effective screening of mine waters using accessible field test kits – Experience with a high school project in the Wonderfonteinspruit Catchment, South Africa. – In: Merkel, B. J. & Arab, A.: Uranium – Past and Future Challenges, Freiberg: 565-572; 6 Fig.; doi:10.1007/978-3-319-11059-2_64.

Hubert, E. & Wolkersdorfer, C. (2015): Establishing a conversion factor between electrical conductivity and total dissolved solids in South African mine waters. – Water SA 41(4): 490-500; Johannesburg; doi:10.4314/wsa.v41i4.08.

Oleksiienko, O., Meleshevych, S., Strelko, V., Wolkersdorfer, C., Tsyba, M. M., Kylivnyk, Y. M., Levchuk, I., Sitarz, M. & Sillanpää, M. (2015): Pore structure and sorption characterization of titanosilicates obtained from concentrated precursors by the sol–gel method. – RSC Advances 5(89): 72562-72571; 7 Fig., 4 Tab.; London; doi:10.1039/c5ra06985h.

Soni, A. K. & Wolkersdorfer, C. (2016): Mine water: Policy perspective for improving water management in the mining environment with respect to developing economies. – Int. J. Min. Reclam. Environ. 30(2): 115-127; Abingdon; doi:10.1080/17480930.2015.1011372.

Wolkersdorfer, C., Göbel, J. & Hasche-Berger, A. (2016): Assessing subsurface flow hydraulics of a coal mine water bioremediation system using a multi-tracer approach. – Int. J. Coal Geol.:  9 Fig., 2 Tab.; doi:10.1016/j.coal.2016.03.010.

Wolkersdorfer, C. & Hubert, E. (2015): Establishing a Total Dissolved Solids:Electrical Conductivity ratio for Mine Waters. – In: Brown, A., et al. (eds): Agreeing on solutions for more sustainable mine water management. – p. 1-8 [electronic document]; Santiago/Chile (Gecamin); doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.3823.2081.

Wolkersdorfer, C., Lopes, D. V. & Nariyan, E. (2015): Intelligent Mine Water Treatment – Recent International Developments. – In: Paul, M. (ed) Sanierte Bergbaustandorte im Spannungsfeld zwischen Nachsorge und Nachnutzung – WISSYM 2015. – p. 63-68; Chemnitz (Wismut GmbH); doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.2441.5849.