A review of circular economy strategies for mine tailings

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There are various existing practices and future potential for turning mining waste into valuable products. The inventory of the tailings in the metal mines in Finland showed that considerable concentrations of many critical metals are contained in the waste. However, the amounts of generated waste are so significant that the full implementation of circular economy is challenging. A combination of several different circular economy approaches (reduce, reprocess, upcycle, downcycle and dispose for future) is needed to manage the waste streams in mining in a holistic way. Various technologies are already in use for the recovery of metals from the tailings and for the use of the mineral residues in high and low-value products. The institutional framework has an impact on the economics of the valorisation of mine waste. Digitalisation can support in identifying where the biggest potential for valorisation exists. The rising concepts of digital material and product passports would support the circularity and the traceability of waste-based materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100499
JournalCleaner Engineering and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Circular economy
  • Digitalisation
  • Institution
  • Mining
  • Tailings
  • Valorisation
  • Waste


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