Phil Ofori | CSIRO
Theme: Tailings repurposing that results in a step change in existing tailings volumes
Project title: Capturing value from tailings by transforming it into value-added products
Offering to sponsors:
The project will develop processes required to transform tailings into geopolymer concrete, drastically reducing tailings volumes in tailing storage facilities and associated risks, while generating additional revenue. This will improve the sustainability of the industry into the future.
The project transforms tailings and other mining waste into geopolymer concrete for construction purposes. The process also recovers much of the water for recycle or treated for other uses. Geopolymer concrete could also be used to immobilise hazardous substances such as AMD generating sulphides and heavy metals
The concrete can generate revenue for operator. Initial work done using coal tailings indicate the tailings is a suitable precursor material for geopolymer concrete; with appropriate optimisation, the technique may be applicable across tailings from multiple commodities.
Benefit to industry:
- Reduced – or potential elimination – of tailings volume and associated risks
- Reduced dam construction and monitoring costs, and rehabilitation cost of the site
- Recovery of much of the water in the tailings for reuse
- Revenue generation from geopolymer concrete
- Improved social licence to operate position
- Possible job creation opportunities from secondary industries to support regional economies during and post-mining.
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