No matter whether in water scarce or in water abundant areas, water is a critical issue for all mining companies and nearby societies. The scope of ITERAMS is to radically reinvent the role of water and waste in mining and to transform the current environmental challenges from a liability into an asset. Water and waste are valuable resources, which must be reused in the mining industry.
Three and half years later, we have accomplished great results, which are summarized in this book. We have exciting news how the water loop can be closed at the mine sites and which aspects need to be considered.
Water technologies, on-line sensors, ore sorting and new approaches to the valorization of tailings have been piloted at mine sites in Finland, Portugal and South Africa. These campaigns have demonstrated that new sensors can reliably monitor contaminants of interest and water can be cleaned efficiently and made ‘fit-for-purpose’. Real value has been shown with ore sorting, with rapid adoption in the mining industry expected. Dry tailings have been transformed into a cement like material in a process called geopolymerisation. We have developed a protocol on closed water loops with clear recommendations for all stakeholders, building on the knowledge created during the project.
The closed water system is complex, requiring expertise from various disciplines and organizations. This book is the result of fruitful cooperation between 16 partners from industry, research organizations and universities across EU member states, Turkey and South Africa. I am particularly delighted to see the enthusiasm of our industrial partners in applying the successful research and development results at their operations. I trust that the ideas of this book will be useful and further adopted by mining and technology companies worldwide.
Water and waste can be a business case for the companies and at the same time improve the overall performance of the mining sector.