Special Issue "Selected Papers from the 1st International Conference – Mines of the Future"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Bernd Lottermoser

Institute of Mineral Resources Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, 52062 Aachen, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mining; mine wastes; indicators; prediction

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Modern mining needs to be profitable, it should operate with environmental integrity, be considerate of social concerns and be supported by effective government systems. At the same time, mining companies face operational challenges. Such challenges will only be solved through very important changes, in the way the mining sector engages with society, uses energy, protects the environment, educates professionals and pursues innovations. Mines of the future will need to be different to those of today.

The key objective of the 1st International Conference Mines of the Future is to share the latest developments on mining expertise, activities, developments and research that support mines of the future. The main topics will be

  • Technological advances and innovation
  • Best practices and benchmarking
  • Responsible and sustainable mining

We invite professionals from the mining industry and practitioners from consulting companies, equipment suppliers and software providers, people from research institutions and government agencies as well as academic scholars and researchers to attend this conference. We are cordially inviting you to join us at the conference and also to submit your manuscript to the Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Lottermoser
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mineral resources
  • mining technologies
  • responsible mining

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Striving Toward a Circular Economy for Phosphorus: The Role of Phosphate Rock Mining
Minerals 2018, 8(9), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8090395
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
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Abstract
As an element, phosphorus (P) is one of a kind. While it is essential for all life on Earth, phosphorus is neither substitutable nor infinite especially in terms of highly concentrated phosphate rock deposits. Society as a whole—and key stakeholders in particular—must build
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As an element, phosphorus (P) is one of a kind. While it is essential for all life on Earth, phosphorus is neither substitutable nor infinite especially in terms of highly concentrated phosphate rock deposits. Society as a whole—and key stakeholders in particular—must build on and extend the idea of a linear system that begins with exploration, continues with extraction and processing, and ends with the application of fertilizers, by applying mechanisms of circularity. The efficient and sustainable utilization of P including intra-generational and intergenerational fairness requires the recognition of its dissipative structure as an important first step. With its Manifesto for a Resource-Efficient Europe, the European Commission acknowledged the inevitability of the transition toward a regenerative Circular Economy (CE). The concept of a CE evolves around the avoidance of losses, which can be found all along the P supply chain in varying degrees of magnitude and leads to total nutrient-use efficiencies as low as 5% to 10%. This makes P a prime target for moving toward a circular economy. While common state-of-the-art work addresses mostly the loop (i.e., production, use, collection, and recycling) itself, we are discussing the current role of raw materials “feeding” the loop with respect to the mining phase. From a resilience perspective, the aim must be to keep every P atom flowing and circulating within our economy for as long as possible. Hereby, every measure needs to be considered under the principle of proportionality in terms of sustainable development. Therefore, changes to the current approach in the form of multidimensional innovation (e.g., products, processes, and structures) must be considered from various perspectives including technological, geological, and economic aspects. The economic framework conditions, in particular, determine the cut-off between valuable product and “waste”. We build our arguments on the “Phosphate Rock Mining–Innovation Nexus” and illustrate potential best-practice examples. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Quantitative and Qualitative Research on the Waste from the Mining of Rock Raw Materials in Lower Silesia
Minerals 2018, 8(9), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8090375
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
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Abstract
The Lower Silesia area in SW Poland is characterized by a geological structure that is conducive to mining activity. The exploitation of rock raw materials plays an important role in this sector of the economy. By the end of 2017, there were in
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The Lower Silesia area in SW Poland is characterized by a geological structure that is conducive to mining activity. The exploitation of rock raw materials plays an important role in this sector of the economy. By the end of 2017, there were in total approximately 400 current concessions for the exploitation of rock raw materials in the analysed area (Polish Geological Institute, MIDAS database—Management and Protection System of Polish Mineral Resources). The conducted mining activity results in waste, which in the greatest amount occurs in the process of obtaining crushed road and construction aggregates, natural aggregates, carbonate raw materials for the cement and lime industry, as well as stone elements for construction and road engineering. At the end of 2016, the mining plants accumulated 26,569,600 Mg of waste. As part of the European Regions Toward Circular Economy (CircE) project, research was conducted on the volume and composition of the mining waste of rock raw materials in the years 2010–2016 within Lower Silesia. This research used the methods of statistical, descriptive and spatial analysis to identify mining plants with the highest potential for using their wastes. In the course of this study, 6 mining plants with the highest potential of using their waste for industrial production purposes were selected. In order to objectively select these plants, the methodology of qualitative multi-criteria analysis was developed, and 7 criteria were selected for assessing the economic potential of using waste from the mining of rock raw materials. An additional result of this research is a database and graphical presentation of changes in the spatial distribution of generated waste in the Lower Silesia region in the years ranging from 2010 to 2016. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Spectral Interferences on Critical Element Determination with Portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF)
Minerals 2018, 8(8), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8080320
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
Field portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometers are routinely used in mineral resources studies. To date, mineral resources studies have largely focussed on the application of pXRF to the exploration for deposits of base and precious metals. By contrast, studies using pXRF for the
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Field portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometers are routinely used in mineral resources studies. To date, mineral resources studies have largely focussed on the application of pXRF to the exploration for deposits of base and precious metals. By contrast, studies using pXRF for the quantification of critical elements in geological materials are scarce since these elements are difficult to determine with energy-dispersive pXRF technology. This study explores the capability of pXRF spectrometers to detect and quantify critical elements (Ba, P, Nb, V, Co, REE, W, Bi, Hf, and Ta) in certified reference materials (CRMs). While precision of many critical elements is acceptable (<20% RSD), accuracy can be poor (>50% difference) when using pre-installed factory calibration software. Spectra collected during the pXRF measurements show that poor accuracy and false positives tend to be associated with spectral interferences. Distinct combinations of spectral interferences (line overlaps, Compton scattered peaks, and Si escape peaks) were observed in the different matrix types. Our results show that critical elements may be determined in common geological materials when pronounced peaks occur in the spectra and that matrix-match of standards and samples is essential. Hence, XRF spectra should be routinely reviewed to identify erroneous quantification due to spectral interferences. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Evolution, Current Status, and Future Prospects of Using Biotechnologies in the Mineral Extraction and Metal Recovery Sectors
Minerals 2018, 8(8), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8080343
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
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Abstract
The current global demand in terms of both the amounts and range of metals for industrial and domestic use greatly exceeds that at any previous time in human history. Recycling is inadequate to meet these needs and therefore mining primary metal ores will
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The current global demand in terms of both the amounts and range of metals for industrial and domestic use greatly exceeds that at any previous time in human history. Recycling is inadequate to meet these needs and therefore mining primary metal ores will continue to be a major industry in the foreseeable future. The question of how metal mining can develop in a manner which is less demanding of energy and less damaging of the environment in a world whose population is increasingly aware of, and concerned about, the environment, requires urgent redress. Increased application of biotechnologies in the mining sector could go some way in solving this conundrum, yet, biomining (harnessing microorganisms to enhance the recovery of base and precious metals) has remained a niche application since it was first knowingly used in the 1960s. This manuscript reviews the development and current status of biomining applications and highlights their limitations as well as their strengths. New areas of biotechnology that could be applied in the mining sector, and their potential impact in terms of both their potential environmental and economic benefits, are also discussed. Full article
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