New coal as an example of recycling energy source

As Phoenix rising from ashes, coal feeds our power plants and cement plant kilns. But it did not happen yesterday.

1970 onwards, we II before cIosing last hard coal mines and ahead of the time, "GWAREX POLSKA" Sp. z o.o. became a pioneer in recovery of coal from post mining tips with the then entirely unknown idea in mind: that of recovery of raw materials and production of industrial coal. Many tips were processed in extremely efficient washery plants in the regions of Charlerai, Centre and Borinage. Due to integrated systems of heavy medium cyclones and hydrocyclones - an unique process in the world - practically all coal with a grain-size from 100 microns (1/10 mm) was recovered.

Belgian and Foreign power and cement plants were main customers of the company which provides them with partial but real and continuous supplies, the value of which was recognized during the oil-price shocks in the years 1973/1974 and 1979/1980 and today eventualities.

For supporters of diversified energy, the energy from such recovered coal is a reliable alternative to nuclear energy. Furthermore, in view of possible new shortages, one can use considerable reserves Iying on the domestic tips.

Land revitalization

"GWAREX POLSKA" Sp. z 0.0., through its activity consisting in recovering coal from tips produces energy, supports employment, promotes smali and medium-sized enterprises and contributes to an increase of the income of society by recognizing the need to restore the post mining areas and change their fate. Most tips, frequently huge, unaesthetic and dangerous, undoubtedly constitute a challenge to people who, these days, are engaged in land management.

We can restore hundreds of hectares, often within urbanized areas, to a previous form they might have had in the time when the spatial planning for a collective use was rarely applied. "GWAREX POLSKA" Sp. z o. o., manifest its position in this field selecting, managing again and transforming tips during its operations. Especially in Belgium, the country of origin of the technology owned by the company, about forty tips have been selected and managed, revegetated and afforested by the company.

Over 1000 hectares of land were cleaned and reshaped, they have been reclaimed and now are housing development, craftsmanship zones, green areas, recreation centers and small and medium-sized enterprises. An indirect 'tangible' effect of energy enrichment of the tips is the landscape revitalization which becomes more attractive and can be easily reshaped in the future.

Environmental protection

No industrial activity is nuisances free. Even if it is temporary and insignifi-cant, an economic entity shall prevent ar abate such nuisance - if required. The main objective of "GWAREX POLSKA" Sp. z 0.0. is to respect the residential environment where such activity is carried out.

This objective is always considered during the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the content of combustibles in a given tip, before a decision on coal recovery from such tip is made. That is why from 1977 a method of tip sampling is applied through a profile drilling campaign. The drillings are performed with no damage to the outward appearance of the tips and the drilling holes with the diameter of 8-11 cm are immediately filled in. When a tip is selected, both the global approach and methods of work are environmentally oriented at all stages of the project. Whether it concerns the location of the plant in respect to the adjacent residential areas or maintenance of embankments, forest crowns, and construction of access roads to transport the feed materials or final products on the grounds of a given plant, all possible care is taken to ensure that the coal enrichment is carried out with no damage to the neighborhood. This principle applies for the entire period of the plant operation (road sprinkling, public road sweeping, etc.)

From the very beginning the company has been operating according to an old adage "better to prevent than to heal". Indeed, taking into account the justified postulates of inhabitants from the neighborhood all presented projects are carefully analyzed and modified in case of need.

Ecological management of tips

Vitality of a region is not measured solely by tonnes of raw material produced or funds invested. The Earth offers to us its resources and it would be a waste to change it into an ecological desert. Therefore "GWAREX POLSKA" Sp. z 0.0., activities are not limited to the Iiquidation of tips or their reshaping into new forms with mild slopes whieh even if moved or made smaller will still exist as visible tra ces of the former activity.

Since 1975, original technologies of afforestation and revegetation of tip areas have been developed in cooperation with research centers of the Faculty of Agronomie Sciences in Gembloux (Belgi um). The afforestation is carried out using colonization species such as birch as we II as more noble species (e.g., mapie, hornbeam, ash, oak, and lime) planted in densely forest nurseries located in a certain distance from one another. Since 2003 the project has been conducted in cooperation with the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice.

The revegetation includes sowing of grasses adapted to carboniferous substrate and mixed with a variety of flowering plants added according to a general trend.

In the recent years "GWAREX POLSKA" Sp. z 0.0., has paid special attention to the ecological diversity of tips, increasing the number of biotopes on newly formed tips. Four other biotopes created from humid zones, dry grasses, bushes and a forest borderland were added to the traditional forest biotope.

A very diversified flora landscape of the tips after coal recovery can only lead to acclimatization of rich and diversified fauna. Therefore, taking into consideration the local fauna the proposed ecological coal recovery is an innovative method worthy of special interest.

Transformation from"black"to"green" is another inseparable and essential effect of the coal recovery from tips. Since 2006 "GWAREX POLSKA" Sp. z 0.0., supported by the Silesian University ofTechnology and experts from Luxembourg, has been planting low temperature resistant wine seed-lings, as a new form of reclamation of tips.

The Company's activity is also valued for the management of the national energy potential, employment promotion, and 'healing' the transformed post-mining lands to give them a new and better socially integrated form. The concern for the environmental protection becomes a priority in the implementation of the projects. The multitude of biotopes is a widely known ecological technique to be introduced in each case of a new tip management, during and after coal recovery. In addition, a currently product named elutrylit®, acting as an environmental filter, can also be used for soil decontamination and treatment of wastewaters, slurries and liquid manure. The product can move forward a wine growing project.