When mining metals and industrial minerals it is inherent in the process that a certain proportion of the productive material will be left behind in the tailings. While these mineral residues, some of which are recyclable, were not the focus of attention at the time the minerals were being mined, they have more recently taken on growing significance, as in the case of rare-earth metals. With the international demand for raw materials growing, and the metal content of primary ores tending generally to decline, we are now seeing a continuous escalation in the quantity of material being disposed off in spoil tips. Enormous quantities of mining refuse from raw-materials extraction are now to be found in the spoil tips and tailing ponds of current and former mining countries and work has been … Read more

With my best regards // Mit freundlichem Glückauf
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Essen

ISSUE 06/2021

Tools for Change – How the EU Wants to Achieve the Coal Transition

Coal Regions in Transition Initiative. Source: EU

The European Commission has been striving to initiate an EU-wide coal phase-out since the end of 2017 in the form of the initiative “Coal Regions in Transition”. The aim of the activities is to provide structural support to the EU’s coal regions during their move – the “transition” – away from coal. The initiative also represents a pioneering project on the path to climate neutrality in the EU and is intended to prove that no regions are left behind in and by the Community, not even the most CO2-intensive among them. In addition to special financial support from EU funds such as the Just Transition Fund, extensive conceptual assistance will be provided to European coal regions. The secretariat of the Coal Regions in Transition initiative has meanwhile provided various “toolkits”, a full collection of …

Author: Prof. Dr. Kai van de Loo, Forschungszentrum Nachbergbau (FZN), T­echnische Hochschule Georg Agricola (THGA), Bochum

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Application of Modern Geo- and Environmental Monitoring Methods for the Sustainable Management of Geological Resources

Satellite images taken during 1991 to 2021 of the closed Prosper-Haniel colliery. Data provided by the Digital Twin project of the THGA. Source: THGA

The sustainable management of geological resources presents a challenge for environmental and geomonitoring actions with all the diverse tasks and assignments involved, such as water management and the monitoring of environmental changes. Today’s geo- and environmental monitoring processes involve the observation of many different factors and use satellite-supported optical remote detection with multispectral or hyperspectral sensors and radar remote sensing. Such methods are able to gather extensive information about the Earth’s surface, though with a relatively low spatial and temporal resolution. Using copters as carrier vehicles for various sensors allows relatively flexible mapping to be carried out at any time and in a much higher …

Authors: Marcin Pawlik M. Sc., Dr.-Ing. Xiaoxuan Yin, Dr. rer. nat. Bodo Bernsdorf, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Tobias Rudolph, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Goerke–Mallet, Forschungszentrum Nachbergbau (FZN), Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola (THGA), Bochum

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Risk Management of Abandoned Mines: 2020 and 2019 – Between Requirement Analysis and Expert Reports on the Impact Relevancy of Abandoned Mines

Outline map of the North Rhine-Westphalian municipalities that are managed as part of the mining authority’s risk management.Source: Bezirksregierung Arnsberg, Stand: 31.12.2020; Kartengrundlage © Geobasis NRW

In 2011, the NRW mining authority initiated the systematic analysis and evaluation of surface fracture relevant shafts within the state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s area of responsibility as part of risk management regarding potential hazards of abandoned mines. The measures that have been taken subsequently aim to, amongst others, prevent physical injuries or substantial damage to property through surface fracturing. As a result, a high level of safety from potential hazards within abandoned pit mines can be guaranteed to the residents of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2019 and 2020, the NRW mining authority considerably raised the number of shafts included in the risk management of abandoned mines …

Authors: Daniel Wagener M. Eng., BD a. D. Dipl.-Ing. Jürgen Rotter, AdM OBVR Martin Isaac M. Sc., Dezernat 63, Abteilung Bergbau und Energie in NRW, Bezirksregierung Arnsberg, Dortmund

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Mining Residues, Reprocessing and Related Projects at the BGR

Gold-mine tailings facilities at Johannesburg/South Africa. Photo: DERA

Residues from the mining industry can be separated into waste rock, tailings and stockpiles. These different materials are usually stored separately from one another within the mine site. Where this has not been done – which is sometimes the case in older mines – the subsequent sorting and processing operation will most probably be very expensive, which often makes further reprocessing uneconomical. When extracting metals and industrial minerals from primary ores it is inherent in the process that a certain proportion of the valuable material will be left behind in the tailings. With growing international demand for raw materials and to recover partially the valuable metal content of primary ores, the quantity of mining residues is continuously increasing worldwide. The major mining countries are currently storing many billions of tonnes of mining waste …

Authors: Dr. Herwig Marbler, Deutsche Rohstoffagentur (DERA) in der Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), Berlin, Dr. Malte Drobe, Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Roh­stoffe (BGR), Hannover

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The Hidden Potential of Contaminated Sites: Reprocessing Tailings for Use as a Secondary Source of Raw Materials

BGR projects in Chile. Source: BGR

As part of the Eco Mining Concepts project, a German-Chilean network for more sustainable mining, the German-Chilean Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Chile) organised a webinar on the topic of “The Hidden Potential of Contaminated Sites: Reprocessing Tailings for Use as a Secondary Source of Raw Materials”. The event featured presentations on Chile’s potential in this field, current challenges and initiatives and projects already in progress. Furthermore, approaches developed in Germany, Finland and Ireland were presented and possible applications in Chile were discussed. The initiative was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi). This article is a summary of the four presentations given during the webinar.

Author: Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte, Chefredakteur Mining Report Glückauf, Moers

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recomine – Sustainable Recycling of Contaminated Mine Waste with a Combination of Environmental Technology, Resource Technology and Digitalization

The recomine vision: Internationally relevant and innovative solutions for the issue of contaminated sites are developed in local development sites and tested under real conditions. In the future, these sites are to be used as training and meeting locations that market the locally developed concepts worldwide, i. e. via pilot facilities. Source: HIF

Abandoned contaminated mining sites such as heaps or slag usually cause major environmental problems, which are or have been rehabilitated in Germany by the government with a large amount of taxes. However, they usually also contain significant amounts of urgently needed strategic raw materials and consist mainly of mineral components that can be used in the ceramics or construction materials industry. These components are not won as part of traditional coverage rehabilitation. “recomine” is a WIR! alliance of over 70 partnering institutions, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), that deals with the global challenges of contaminated soils and works on innovative, comprehensive concepts  …

Authors: Dipl. Geoök. Philipp Büttner, Dr. Jonathan Engelhardt, Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie (HIF), Freiberg

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Mineralogical and Micro-Mechanical Characteri­zation of Slags – Investigated on the Example of a MnSiFe Slag from Electric Arc Furnace

Microscope images of different phases and textures of the bulk sample: a. MnSiFe(x) phase, partially disseminated in the matrix; b. round inclusions of different sizes; c. round inclusions and homogeneous fragments. Source: IART

Recently, the recycling of metallurgical residues, e. g., electric arc furnace slag, has gained increasing importance. The potential of metallurgical slags often lies, in addition to the metallic value content, among other things in their use as aggregates for the construction industry, e. g., cement industry. The development of this potential requires a systematic mineralogical and micromechanical and physical characterization of the material accordingly. For this purpose, the present study presents and discusses suitable methods for material characterization …

Authors: Dipl. Geol. Arturo H. Bravo, Dr.-Ing. Oleg Popov, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Lieberwirth, Institut für Aufbereitungs­maschinen und Recycling-Systemtechnik (IART), TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg

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