New Paradigms for Sustainable Mineral Processing

Authored by: S. Komar Kawatra

Sustainability in the Mineral and Energy Sectors

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781498733021
eBook ISBN: 9781315369853
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9781315369853-3

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Abstract

Sustainable mineral processing is the ultimate goal driving mineral processing plants to generate zero waste. This encompasses: (1) clean and reusable water—recycle all water used in the plant and remove any metal particulates in the water; (2) solid waste utilization—use solid tailings for infrastructure instead of impounding, and efficiently extract all useful minerals from the tailings; and (3) clean air—zero release of dust, nanoparticles, or toxic gases, and capture of emissions such as CO2 and H2SO4 to convert into useful products. By striving to achieve zero-waste production in mineral processing, less hazardous compounds will be released into the environment, less material will be wasted, and companies will increase profit by processing old “waste” streams into marketable products. In the progression toward zero waste, sustainable mineral processing will address the issues of reducing carbon emissions, minimizing environmental effects, and maintaining the societal “license to operate.”

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