Multiphysics modeling of gaseous contaminant transport in deep open pit mines under arctic air inversions

Multiphysics modeling of gaseous contaminant transport in deep open pit mines under arctic air inversions
Choudhury, A.
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
xvii, 240 p.
Entrapment of pollutants in a deep open pit operating in a cold climate could occur due to atmospheric inversion. The process of air inversion is complex and requires thorough understanding in order to design a mine ventilation plan to remove trapped pollutants in open-pit mines operating in the arctic/sub-arctic regions. The objective of this dissertation is to develop a model using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools for analysis of gaseous pollutant transport in deep, open pit mines under air inversion in arctic or subarctic regions. An Eulerian 3-D model was used for the development and validation of the CFD model of pollutant transport in an idealized open pit mine. No prior assumptions, turbulent or laminar, were considered for the nature of the flow. The 2-D model results indicated that air velocity, air temperature, diffusivity coefficient and slope angle were important controlling parameters in the inversion process. The flow regime was laminar at the origin, but as the flow progressed toward the center of the pit it changed to quasi-laminar and generated local eddies towards the pit bottom. The total energy of the quasi-laminar flow as well as the small local eddies was not enough to lift the inversion cap. However, a combination of quasi-turbulent flow and the local eddy transport resulted in removal of some of the pollutant mass from the pit bottom, either due to turbulent mixing, or due to advection. Presence of backflow may appear to be a logical mode of flow in deep open-pit mines in arctic regions. Next, the 3D model was validated using data from a selected open-pit mine. Influent air velocity, diffusivity coefficient, larger pit geometry were found to influence the retention and transport of pollutant out of the pit. The most important conclusion that was drawn from this research is that natural ventilation alone cannot remove the pollutants from an open pit or lift the inversion cap.
Ph. D. dissertation
Minerals Data and Information Rescue in Alaska (MDIRA)