An unavoidable by-product in certain mining and drilling operations is the generation of tailings, sometimes referred to as fine fluid tailings (FFT’s). These FFT’s are held in subsurface ponds until the complete reclamation process can be completed. The careful disposal of tailings is arguably the most sensitive environmental issue for any mining or drilling operation, especially in the oil sands. Typically, individual mining and drilling operations have developed strict standards to prevent or minimize any environmental damage.
In coal mining, one of the goals is to produce coal with as much energy
content as possible. This is established by strategically optimizing
extraction of varying quality of coal in the logistical chain. The
more information that miners have in advance regarding the quality of
coals seams, the better the extraction will take place. This
information includes depth, thickness and grade of coal seams, such
that better decisions downstream can be made. Technical and economic
feasibility studies and business cases are evaluated based on the coal
seam continuity, thickness, structure, quality and depth.