Innovative solutions for revalorisation and proactive mine waste management
Convener: Adriana Guatame-GarciaECSECS | Co-conveners: Feven DestaECSECS, Philipp Büttner, Hernan Flores

The extraction and processing of mineral resources generate a vast amount of solid and liquid waste globally (i.e., billions of tons of waste rock, tailings, slag, and fly ashes). All these materials can negatively affect surrounding environments via poor-quality drainage, air pollution, et cetera. Nevertheless, mine residues also bear significant amounts of minerals (e.g., residual ores, rare earth elements (REE), critical raw materials (CRM)), which have the potential to become mineral resources.
The transition toward cleaner energies is minerals demanding. The World Bank and the International Energy Agency estimate that to meet climate goals, the production of minerals could increase nearly 500% by 2050 [1]. These targets require the pursuit of increasingly diffuse and lower-grade deposits, which present emerging challenges for sustainable mine waste management.
New projects and perspectives about the management of legacy, active, and future mine wastes are increasingly framed into circular economy concepts: minimise environmental impact and lower costs while creating new economic value through revalorisation [2, 3]. This scenario fosters new technological developments and innovative approaches to exploring, characterising, recovering, and reprocessing mine wastes.

The main topics to be discussed in this session address but are not limited to:
-Sustainable mine waste management strategies
-Novel approaches for the design and storage of mine wastes
-Innovative tools and enhanced methodologies in active and legacy sites for environmental/risk monitoring
-Identification of potential secondary resources (e.g., REEs, CRM)
-Technological developments toward mine waste sampling and characterisation
-Transformation of mine waste into energy
-Innovative mineral exploration, extraction, and (re)processing technologies, including geometallurgy
-Mine waste sites rehabilitation and repurposing

[1] Hund, K., La Porta, D., Fabregas, T. P., Laing, T. & Drexhage, J. Minerals for Climate Action: The mineral intensity of the clean energy transition. 112 (2020).
[2] Tayebi-Khorami, M., Edraki, M., Corder, G. & Golev, A. Re-Thinking Mining Waste through an Integrative Approach Led by Circular Economy Aspirations. Minerals 9, 286, (2019).
[3] Kinnunen, P. H. M. & Kaksonen, A. H. Towards circular economy in mining: Opportunities and bottlenecks for tailings valorisation. Journal of Cleaner Production 228, 153-160, (2019).