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Sustainability in Mining Waste Removal

Mining creates a lot of waste, from topsoil overburden and waste rock to tailings. Historically, the removal of this waste has inevitably led to air, soil, and water pollution. For example, mining tailings contain high concentrations of toxic chemicals, including arsenic and mercury, which contaminate soil and water.

To minimise this impact, mining companies are bringing sustainability into waste removal operations. One way they’re doing this is with dry stacking tailings, which involves compacting them into a mound before reclaiming the area with soil and vegetation. This is more sustainable than the use of tailings ponds, which can fail at any moment and cause devastating environmental damage.

Key fact: Mining operations generate approximately 1.8 billion tons of mineral processing waste each year in the United States

For acidic mine water waste, disposal management strategies limit the amount that’s generated, store it, and treat it before it’s released back into the environment.

Meanwhile, sustainable disposal methods for waste rock and overburden involve backfilling an excavated pit with the waste material in a process called mine reclamation. Trees and vegetation are then reintroduced to these areas.


  • Minimises environmental impact

  • Improves air, water and soil quality

  • Improves community health

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