Development of a smart database for solid mine wastes contributing to circular economy of mining sector


Arash, Rafiei; Elmira, Moosavi-Khoonsari

This Abstract is intended for video recording only for the virtual platform – not going to present live. In general, mine waste may be defined based on the expected quality of ore, as the fraction of mine deposit that contains concerned mineral below the cut-off grade. Mine waste can be categorized into solid waste and wastewater. However, there is no general or global classification system for solid waste with respect to its physical and chemical properties. The classification can be carried out based on two main contexts: a) environmental impact, and b) socioeconomic impact. There are several publications, reports, and regulations concerning the former approach. The smart solid waste database is about the potential economic benefits of recycling solid waste for recovery and reuse of valuable metals and materials for in-demand applications. Therefore, the wastes can be classified into a) low-grade wastes, b) complex wastes with difficulties in processing, and c) wastes without any foreseen applications. It should be noted that the low-grade wastes are not defined only based on the target ore of a mine. For example, in the case of an iron mine, the low-grade waste may contain low-grade iron oxide as well as other metallic oxides such as titanium and rare earth-containing minerals. The procedure of developing the smart database consists of a) smart choice of solid waste, b) proper characterization of waste, c) finding an appropriate application and a processing route, d) preliminary/basic simulation of the proposed process, and e) finding a potential end-user. The smart choice of solid waste should be performed based on local sources and demands. Proper characterization is defined as using the most suitable characterization methods that provide the most important characteristics of the sample, required for processing, with minimum costs. Subsequently, the most appropriate application and processing method should be chosen concerning technical, economical, and environmental aspects of it. The selected application/process, then, can be modeled using the physicochemical and thermophysical principles for maximizing the waste separation into valuable products. The final step will be introducing the potential application of solid waste to an end-user to satisfy the circular economy objective. In general, the application of a smart waste database strongly depends on the quality of generated data, including chemical and physical characteristics of the waste and proposed valorization processes, environmental regulations, and global/domestic supply and demand. There are several sources for collecting data for the database such as reports, case studies, statistics, publications, and ultimately sampling followed by analysis. According to a published statistic, since 2010, the number of scientific/academic publications about zero-waste production, mineral waste metal recovery, sustainable mining, and low-grade wastes has been increased by the factors of 5, 4, 3.5, and 2, respectively. In this work, the principles of the smart database will be described with a case study.
Keywords: CIMBC22