NECESSITY OF MINING
Resources that we mine touch almost every aspect of our lives
BHP’s Copper Mine, Olympic Dam in South Australia produces as much waste as Australia’s entire annual landfill.
In Hungary in 2010 the Akja Red Mud dam, containing waste from alumina refining – known generally as Red Muds – broke, killing 10 people and injuring 150. Millions of tonnes of that Red Mud reached the Danube River and eventually contaminated the river all the way to the sea.
UNSEEN SIDE EFFECTS
- Sulphide tailings produce acid mine drainage
- Acidic waters leach heavy metals into local waterways
- Poor vegetation cover leads to dust problems
2-5 Major tailings dams FAIL every year KILLING scores of people and destroying towns costing BILLIONS in damages and lawsuits
- Processes the entire volume of mine tailings, compared with only the top 1-2m for current practice
- Removes environmental liabilities, such as contamination of water, completely within 10-20 years of mine closure. This compares with ongoing monitoring requirements for capping
- Uses waste from other industries as biomass reagents, addressing two environmental issues at once
- Technosol, after pioneer cropping, creates a valuable product that can be used for agricultural soil
- Valuable specialty metals can be extracted, providing a solid revenue stream for the process. This releases contained value in tailings that would not be available in conventional remediation
- Removal of tailings means that land becomes available for more valuable uses, as compared to conventional capping, where the best use of land is usually native vegetation