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Re-Thinking Mining Waste through an Integrative Approach Led by Circular Economy Aspirations

Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
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Minerals 2019, 9(5), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9050286
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract

Mining wastes, particularly in the form of waste rocks and tailings, can have major social and environmental impacts. There is a need for comprehensive long-term strategies for transforming the mining industry to move toward zero environmental footprint. “How can the mining industry create new economic value, minimise its social and environmental impacts and diminish liability from mining waste?” This would require cross-disciplinary skills, across the social, environmental, technical, legal, regulatory, and economic domains, to produce innovative solutions. The aim of this paper is to review the current knowledge across these domains and integrate them in a new approach for exploiting or “re-thinking” mining wastes. This approach includes five key areas of social dimensions, geoenvironmental aspects, geometallurgy specifications, economic drivers and legal implications for improved environmental outcomes, and circular economy aspirations, which are aligned with the 10 principles of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). Applying circular economy thinking to mining waste presents a major opportunity to reduce the liability and increase the value of waste materials arising from mining and processing operations. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development; tailings management; industrial ecology; sustainable resource management; mining waste; circular economy sustainable development; tailings management; industrial ecology; sustainable resource management; mining waste; circular economy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Tayebi-Khorami, M.; Edraki, M.; Corder, G.; Golev, A. Re-Thinking Mining Waste through an Integrative Approach Led by Circular Economy Aspirations. Minerals 2019, 9, 286.

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