Using novel technology for residue management and sustainable mine closure Littlejohn, P.; Kratochvil, D.; Consigny, A.
An important aspect of mine closure is the management of waste residues such as waste rock, tailings, water treatment by-products and other metallurgical process waste. Issues with waste residues include their mass and volume, long-term stability and environmental impact, the methods required for safe disposal and the metal value that may be recovered through reprocessing or offtake. Well-planned management of residues is required not only at sites that are currently in production but also at legacy sites and for projects that are in the permitting and planning stages. In order to navigate the challenges presented by management of residues, many industrial players are employing novel technologies to achieve sustainability. This paper examines three case studies involving the use of new or unconventional technology to improve sustainability and reduce the cost of residue management at different stages of mine life. One case study involves recovery of copper value from low-grade stockpile decades after active mining ceased. The second details a new arsenic management plan at an operating copper smelter, which focuses on dramatically reducing the volume of arsenic waste. The third describes a novel approach to environmental control to reduce selenium discharge to ultralow limits.
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