Markets for industrial mineral products from mining waste
Peter W. Scott, John M. Eyre, David J. Harrison, Andrew J. Bloodworth, 2005. "Markets for industrial mineral products from mining waste", Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World, B. R. Marker, M. G. Petterson, F. McEvoy, M. H. Stephenson
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The composition of mining waste varies according to the nature of the mining operation and many other factors, but where the same mineral is extracted from a similar style of metalliferous or industrial mineral deposit or coal, the waste usually has similar characteristics. There are many potential sources of industrial minerals from mining waste. Waste from one mine may be a byproduct or coproduct in a mining operation elsewhere. Much technical research work on mine waste utilization, for example studies on slate waste, has included a manufacturing process. The waste is invariably an inferior material compared with an industrial mineral from a primary resource for the manufacturing process. Successful markets have not been found. Four scenarios are proposed where an industrial mineral product made from mining waste may be marketed successfully. These are a bulk product for a local market made with minimal or no processing; a low unit value product and a cost-effective alternative source of a mineral for local industry; an industrial mineral commodity traded nationally or internationally; and extraction of a high unit value rare mineral. Making an industrial mineral product from mining waste and successfully marketing it should involve minimal processing of the waste consistent with the value of the mineral product.
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Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World
The sustainable development of minerals, which are non-renewable resources, is a major challenge in today’s world. In this regard the true definition of sustainability’ is a debating point in itself: can such a concept exist with respect to non-renewable resources? Perhaps the ideal sustainability model is one that minimizes negative environmental impact and maximizes benefits to society, the economy and regional/national development. Developed and near-developed economies rely for commodity supplies on developing countries where major mining operations are often a mainstay of the domestic economy. Limited environmental regulation and low wages lead to charges of exploitation. Also, large numbers of people have no alternative to living by informal, often dangerous, ‘artisanal’ mining. This Special Publication gives examples from developing countries at all scales of mineral extraction. The volume reviews environmental, economic, health and social problems and highlights the need to solve these before sustainability can be achieved. The better solutions require mutual understanding, through full involvement of all stakeholders, education, training and investment so that small-scale ansd artisinal mines can grow into well-managed operations. At larger scales, most major interantional mining companies have now inoproved their practices and are monitoring their progress, although there is no room for complacency in this rapidly changing area.