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Open AccessArticle

A Holistic Approach in Re-Mining Old Tailings Deposits for the Supply of Critical-Metals: A Portuguese Case Study

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CERENA—Polo FEUP—Centre for Natural Resources and the Environment, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, 4099002 Porto, Portugal
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Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, 4099002 Porto, Portugal
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(10), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9100638
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 9 October 2019 / Accepted: 12 October 2019 / Published: 17 October 2019
Demand growth for metallic minerals has been faced with the need for new techniques and improving technologies for all mining life-cycle operations. Nowadays, the exploitation of old tailings and mine-waste facilities could be a solution to this demand, with economic and environmental advantages. The Panasqueira Mine has been operating for more than a century, extracting tungsten and tin ore. Its first processing plant, “Rio”, was located near the Zêrere river, where mineral-processing residues were deposited on the top hillside on the margin of this river in the Cabeço do Pião tailings dam. The lack of maintenance and monitoring of this enormous structure in the last twenty years represents a high risk to the environment and the population of the surrounding region. A field-sample campaign allowed the collection of data, and resulted from laboratory tests to use regression optimization. Re-mining the tailings by hydrometallurgical methods was considered to satisfy the two conditions of metal demand and environmental risk. The metal content in Cabeço do Pião was shown be enough for environmental restoration. The re-mining solution was studied, taking into account the technical, economic, social, and environmental aspects. View Full-Text
Keywords: tungsten; zinc; tailings reprocessing; modeling regression; surface response tungsten; zinc; tailings reprocessing; modeling regression; surface response
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MDPI and ACS Style

Figueiredo, J.; Vila, M.C.; Fiúza, A.; Góis, J.; Futuro, A.; Dinis, M.L.; Martins, D. A Holistic Approach in Re-Mining Old Tailings Deposits for the Supply of Critical-Metals: A Portuguese Case Study. Minerals 2019, 9, 638.

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