Mining, processing and metals recovery from low grade sources

Justin Salminen, Jarno Mäkinen, Geza Szilvay, Sami Virolainen, Päivi Kinnunen, Olli Salmi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Mining of raw materials, metals processing, and recovery are crucial for our wellbeing, development of the society, and for the world economy. Mining and metals processing requires energy, water, land area, and importantly good personnel. The development of good practices, improved resource efficiency and sustainability thinking in the whole value chain are required in industrial operations. The global mineral market, driven primarily by the growing standard of living and urbanization of industrial and development countries, is expected to lead to a mineral resource gap in future years unless new mineral sources and more efficient technologies are developed. Also societal licence of operations must be earned nowadays. In addition to more efficient extraction processes, the looming resource gap requires more careful use of mineral raw materials over a wide range of products. In addition, the concentrations of metals found in primary deposits are now deeper than before and furthermore the deposits are more complex.
Also secondary sources, such as end of life products, mineral residue streams, and urban landfills could offer competitive processes, starting with acceptable concentrations for a number metals which are very important in modern society together with base metals. These trends lead to a need to develop new technologies for economically sustainable extraction from low grade sources and proper management of the socio-environmental impacts related to general mineral extraction processes. There is a clear need for tools and methods that allow for more rigorous and sustainable mining, processing, and material design. A whole new value chain ought to be developed. However, the technological readiness level for a flexible utilization of low concentrate materials as a raw material is not high. Low energy efficiency and high economical costs are the main obstacles as to why low concentrate raw materials, especially mining wastes, are not refined in larger quantities.
New innovative ways to utilize secondary raw material sources require skills, equipment and knowledge of hydrometallurgy and materials sciences. A series of well thought out processing steps can lead to safe landfilling and at the same time the extraction of valuable raw materials. The steps involving interrelationships between primary raw materials, secondary materials, wastes, by-products, and even substitute materials, could be designed in such way that the raw material composition can be used directly without any addition to functional material preparation. The whole value chain needs to be clarified and technology gaps filled.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMining SIPS 2014
Subtitle of host publicationCD only
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventShechtman International Symposium, Sustainable Mining Operations - Cancun, Mexico
Duration: 29 Jun 20144 Jul 2014


ConferenceShechtman International Symposium, Sustainable Mining Operations
Abbreviated titleSIPS 2014

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