Choice of method

It is not yet feasible to collect mine-specific Tier 3 measurement data for surface mines. The alternative is to collect data on surface mine coal production and use emission factors. For countries with significant coal production and multiple coal basins, disaggregation of data and emission factors to the coal basin level will improve accuracy. Given the uncertainty of production-based emission factors, choosing emission factors from the range specified within these guidelines can provide reasonable estimates for a Tier 1 approach.

As with underground mining, direct measurement of post-mining emissions is infeasible so an emission factor approach is recommended. Tier 2 and Tier 1 methods should be reasonable for this source, given the difficulty of obtaining better data.

Oxidation of coal in the atmosphere to produce CO2 is known to occur at surface mines, but emissions from this are not expected to be significant, especially taking into account the effects of rehabilitation of the waste dumps. Rehabilitation practices, which involve covering the dumps with topsoil and re-vegetation, act to reduce oxygen fluxes into the dump and hence reduce the rate of CO2 production.

Uncontrolled combustion in waste piles is a feature for some surface mines. However, these emissions, where they occur, are extremely difficult to quantify and it is infeasible to include a methodology.

Figure 4.1.2 Decision tree for surface coal mining

Figure 4.1.2 Decision tree for surface coal mining


Collect data to provide

Tier 2 method.

Note: See Volume 1 Chapter 4, "Methodological Choice and Key Categories" (noting section 4.1.2 on limited resources) for discussion of key categories and use of decision trees

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