Reclamation of abandoned coal mine waste in Korea using lime cake by-products

Jae E. Yang, Jeffrey G. Skousen, Yong Sik Ok, Kyung Yoal Yoo, Hee Joung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


There are hundreds of abandoned coal mines in Korea's steep mountain valleys. Enormous amounts of coal waste from these mines were dumped on the slopes, contaminating streams with sediment and acid mine drainage. A limestone slurry by-product (lime cake), which is produced during the manufacture of soda ash, was investigated for its potential use in reclaiming the coal waste. The lime cake is fine grained, has low hydraulic conductivities (10-8 to 10-9 cm sec-1), high pH, high electrical conductivity, and trace amounts of heavy metals. A field experiment was conducted; each plot was 20 x 5 m in size on a 56% slope. Treatments included a control (waste only), lime (CaCO3), and lime cake. The lime requirement (LR) of the coal waste to pH 7.0 was determined; treatments consisted of adding 25, 50, and 100% of the LR. The lime cake and lime were applied either as a layer between the coal waste and topsoil or mixed into the topsoil and waste. Each plot was hydroseeded with grasses, and planted with trees. In each plot, soils, surface runoff, and subsurface water were collected and analyzed, and plant cover was measured. Lime cake treatments increased the pH of the coal waste from 3.5 to 6, and neutralized the pH of the runoff and leachate of the coal waste from 4.3 to 6.7. Moreover, the surface cover of seeded species was significantly increased; sufficient acidity in the coal waste was neutralized in the 25% LR plots to allow seed germination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
JournalMine Water and the Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Abandoned mine land
  • Acid mine drainage
  • Acid runoff
  • Acid soils
  • Coal refuse
  • Lime cake
  • Reclamation
  • Revegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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