Valorization of Finnish mining tailings for use in the ceramics industry

Soili Solismaa (Corresponding Author), Arnold Ismailov, Marjaana Karhu, Harisankar Sreenivasan, Marja Lehtonen, Paivo Kinnunen, Mirja Illikainen, Marja Liisa Räisänen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    The present study valorized Finnish mining tailings waste to identify opportunities for the use of ceramics technologies. On the basis of their mineralogical and chemical contents, the five selected tailings wastes represented felsic mining tailings (FMT) rich in quartz and alkali feldspars, mining tailings dominated by Mg- and Fe-bearing minerals (MgFeMT), and mining tailings rich in carbonate minerals (CMT). Preliminary pilot studies
    indicated that the FMT materials are potential secondary raw materials for mullite-type ceramics. An Al additive was needed, since the Al2O3 content of the studied tailings was too low for mullitization. In addition, carbonate-bearing tailings with Ca silicates can be applicable for chemically bonded phosphate ceramic (CBPC) synthesis. Based on a literature review, FMT are viable source materials for the production of geopolymers, but a high initial Si:Al ratio (in quartz-rich FMT) may lead to partial geopolymerization. Preliminary results from the geopolymerization of pre-heated phlogopite mica mixed with metakaolin gave promising findings, with the formation of a geopolymer having
    good compressive strength. The findings support the viability of MgFeMT materials rich in phlogopite mica for the production of alkali-activated ceramics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)33-54
    JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of Finland
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    We thank the Academy of Finland for funding the Ceratail project in Mineral Resources and Material Substitution program and thereby supporting this work.


    • Mining tailings, utilization, geopolymer, phosphate ceramics, chemically bonded ceramics, mullitization, sintered bonded ceramics, tailings minerals, mineralogy,geochemistry


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