Coal mine treats its wastewater protecting environment

The Bolesław Śmiały coal mine in the heavily industrialised Silesia region in southern Poland has successfully tested a new water treatment process, which allows it to protect the environment while continuing its extraction procedures.

The mine’s treatment facility desalinates wastewater and extracts minerals to protect the environment. It operates with the participation of the Silesian University of Technology and is part of the EU-founded Zero Brine project.

According to scientists, the coal mine wastewater is treated using a system of nanofiltration, reverse osmosis and electro-dialysis in order to extract valuable raw materials such as sodium and magnesium chloride, which are then reused.

The desalinated water can later be reused. Standard “mines mainly dilute water and dispose it directly into the river, however, obtaining raw materials from them is quite difficult. We strive to achieve this by introducing innovative membrane techniques and combining them into a technological process that produces as little waste as possible,” said the project’s coordinator from the Silesian University of Technology Krzysztof Mitko.

The process saves up to 50 percent of the energy lost compared to the current best practice for water waste treatment.