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Ending Mining Waste’s Impact on Environment

Mining is responsible for huge amounts of waste, like mining tailings, sludge, waste rock, and wastewater. From air pollution to soil and water contamination, waste must be tackled in order to reduce its devastating effects on the environment.

Key fact: A 2019 report estimated that mining operations produce over 100 billion tonnes of solid waste per year

Recently, efforts have been made towards developing a circular economy in mining that supports long-term sustainability. This prioritises reusing and recycling waste rather than disposing it, and will be key to preventing pollution.

For example, waste rock can be used to backfill completed open-pit mines during reclamation work. Mine reclamation is important to a circular economy, minimising land disturbance and restoring habitats, plant life, and land use.

Clay-rich mining tailings can be upcycled into bricks and cement, manganese tailings can be used in a range of construction materials, and slag can be recycled into concrete.

Minimising water and energy consumption is also key to driving down waste. Recirculating process water reduces both water consumption and the amount of wastewater. Meanwhile, automation, electric-powered vehicles, and green energy can minimise energy consumption and limit air pollution.

Benefits

  • Enables sustainable development

  • Reduces emissions

  • Conserves raw materials


Learn more insights by browsing our resource centre and learn about digital transformation trends among metals and mining companies in the Axora Innovation Forecast, which surveyed 150 senior industry decision makers.

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