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JCI at a Glance References Selected Projects Relocation of the Kolubara River Channel, Phase 2
Relocation of the Kolubara River Channel, Phase 2 PDF Print E-mail

Kolubara Mining LLC, Lazarevac, Serbia
Chief Designer:
Nebojša Popović, B.S.C.E.
Project Team:
Predrag Babić, B.S. in Geol.; Ivan Kovač, B.S.C.E.; Miomir Arsić,  B.S.C.E.; Zoran Simić, B.S.C.E.; Anica Jovičić, B.S.C.E.; Dragiša Argakijev, B.S. in Geodesy; Dušan Mikavica, B.S. in Geol

The Kolubara River channel needs to be relocated, to allow for the continuation of coal (lignite) mining in the Kolubara Coal Basin. Phase 1 of the Kolubara Project has already been completed. Under Phase 2, design documents were prepared for expansion of the South Field Coal Mine (Field G), including the relocation of a section of the Kolubara River and one of its tributaries – the Peštan River.

The characteristics of this re-aligned section of the Kolubara River area are:

  • Total length, Phase 2: ~ 2600 m
  • Phase 2 channel section route: ~ 1950 m running through an internal dumpsite of the Tamnava/East Field Strip Mine (no longer active)
  • Mullock from the Veliki Crljeni Strip Mine will be used to fill the area through which a portion of the river channel will run.
  • Riverbed gradient: 0.3‰.
  • The typical cross-section of the channel will be trapezoidal: in the dumpsite area – bed width 24 m, slope1:3; embankment crest width b = 8 m, and embankment slope 1:3; on natural soil – bed width 20 m, slope 1:3, embankment crest width b = 4 m, embankment slope 1:2.
  • Waterproofing of the river channel: EPDM geomembrane, 1.5 mm thick.
  • Leveling relative to existing river channel sections at both ends: spillway and stilling basin, H = 1,6m.


Figure 1: Site map

An important feature of this phase of the Kolubara Relocation Project is the very short time frame (only one year) from the time of completion of dumping of mullock to the time of initiation of construction work.

The main characteristics of the re-aligned Peštan River channel are:

  • Total relocated length: ~ 1813 m.
  • Gradient: 1.0‰.
  • Trapezoidal river channel cross-section: from the mouth to the spillway – 8 m wide, slope 1:3, embankment crest width b = 4 m, embankment slope 1:2; from the spillway to the upstream end (natural soil) – width 8 m, slope 1:2, embankment crest width b = 4 m, embankment slope 1:2.
  • Due to extensive training, the Peštan River has been shortened and its relative elevation altered. As a result, a spillway and stilling basin (H = 3.3 m) will be required to join the channel with the Kolubara River.

As required by Serbia’s Water Management Master Plan, the level of flood protection of the left and right banks of the future Kolubara and Peštan river channels will be the same: 100-year return period, with a safety freeboard for a 1000-year return period.

Highly complex geotechnical, hydrogeological and civil engineering conditions which exist along the routes of the relocated Kolubara and Peštan channels (internal dumpsites of different ages) require extensive monitoring of both the training works and the surrounding area. For this purpose, an automated monitoring system with telemetric data acquisition has been designed for:

  • Geodetic surveys of the future Kolubara and Peštan channels and of the internal dumpsite within the zone of the new channels;
  • Monitoring of groundwater levels at piezometers (wells) within the zone of the new channels, and of water levels in the new channel sections of the Kolubara and Peštan rivers;
  • Monitoring of precipitation within the zone of the relocated channels (daily precipitation sums).



Figure 2: Schematic of automated monitoring system

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