Waste Management Solutions for Mining Wastes - Mining

Mining waste typically arises from the limitation of the installed technologies of an operation, e.g. where fines cannot be tolerated. They are associated with mine workings and often contain valuable and/or hazardous materials. The hazardous content, which are often the valuable fractions within this waste are typically metals. Spread of metal toxicants in association with tailings particles, through a combination of wind dispersion or if washed into the soil or rivers, can have a highly damaging effect on the environment. Crucially, as time moves on, the mine tailing of one generation become the resource of the next.

Due to the low natural abundance of the valuable material often contained within mine tailings, processing of this waste is often two-fold: the treatment of any hazardous elements and, the further refining of the mining spoils for the extraction of the valuable material. The challenge is finding a technology solution capable of managing both processes.

How Tetronics can help unlock value from this process

Tetronics offers metal recovery plants to meet a growing number of resource recovery challenges including recovering valuable materials from a range of difficult‐to‐process mining tailings. With Tetronics’ plasma‐enhanced treatment technology, the chemical process that takes place in their plasma furnace during the smelting process is designed to preferentially separate the valuable metal and minerals from the waste material while destroying any hazardous elements. The remaining non-valuable material is vitrified into an inert, safe disposable non‐hazardous material in a single processing step. The robust level of construction and minimal number of moving components delivers outstanding plant longevity. The recovery process also has exceptional environmental and commercial credentials and can be considered as a future‐proof solution for mining waste management problems.

Examples of the many such materials treated by Tetronics over the last 30 years include wastes arising from the mining of chromite ore, basalt, platinum‐group element bearing ores, Ilmenite and quartz.