Old mine dumps recovery: an environmental and techno-economical challenge.
AbstractThe paper discusses from a techno-economical point of view the possibilities offered by the combined mineralurgical and metallurgical treatment of mining residues as a methodology for the reclamation of abandoned mine areas. The proposed methodology permits to achieve better results in the case of: original minerals high residual concentration grades; possible recovery of the rare earth minerals often associated with the main ore; presence of a homogeneous mining domain along with a metallurgical district in which the production cycle could be carried out locally. Last but not least, other favorable circumstances are represented by the fact that tailings were originated in the last century during which mining technologies were not well developed, leaving a certain amount of useful minerals still to be recovered. The proper setting of the mineralurgical processes aimed at obtaining both a commercial concentrate and a non-polluting residue proved to be of fundamental importance in the remediation processes.
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