International "Astana Mining & Metallurgy" Congress
18-19 June 2020
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

Environmental project of Kazzinc in East Kazakhstan helps to reduce technogenic pollution of the river

Kazzink LOGO 260 1From year to year, Kazgidromet service recorded cases of high concentrations of pollutants in the samples of the Ulba mountain river. As Tatiana Kolbina, the chief environmental specialist at the Ridder mining and processing complex explained, 70% of the problem was caused by the historical dump of the overburden of the Tishinsky mine in 1965–1966.

It was poured as it was, on an unprepared site, practically in the floodplain of the river. The volume amounted to more than 81 million tonnes, with a height of 70 meters.

During precipitation and floods, leaching of compounds containing non-ferrous metals occurs. They seep into the groundwater and fall into the river.

In samples taken from the drainage flow, not only high, but extremely high contamination with zinc, lead, copper, manganese, and sulfates was recorded. Measurements on pH showed an acidic environment here.

Despite the fact that the dump belongs to the state, Kazzinc held events to minimize its impact on the environment on its own initiative. According to the technology proposed in the 1990s by Novosibirsk scientists, the drain of the crushing and enrichment plant with a pH of 10–11, that is, an alkaline medium was directed to the drainage water of the historical dump. Water mixed, neutralization occurred, 35–40 percent of non-ferrous metals precipitated. Further, dumping entered the river through the system of trenches. Thus, according to the ecologist, the discharge of CEP was used for partial neutralization of drainage water.

“In 2003, we built a drainage system for collecting surface water and reducing drainage drains. In 2013, we launched pumps to intercept this water and feed it to sewage treatment plants,” the specialist said.

This year, Kazzinc took up the task of completely intercepting drainage flow. Within four months, work on the reconstruction of the pumping station and the installation of a pipeline with a length of 2.6 kilometers from the station to the treatment plant was carried out.

All the acidic effluent entering the collective stream is now intercepted and pumped through the pipe to the treatment plant. There it is treated with reagents. As a result, the discharge entering Ulba complies with the established standards.

“Everyone can see with their own eyes. It is now dry where polluted runoff used to go into the river. By localizing the land plot, we got a great environmental effect. If earlier the damage from river pollution was measured in hundreds of millions of tenge, then in the reports for May Kazgidromet did not have a single case of extremely high pollution. This is a great environmental win,” the chief ecologist of the company Kaztay Takeyev commented.

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