University of Oulu

Obenaus-Emler, R., Illikainen, M., Falah, M., Kinnunen, P., & Heiskanen, K. (2019). Geopolymers from mining tailings for more sustainable raw material supply. MATEC Web of Conferences, 274, 5001.

Geopolymers from mining tailings for more sustainable raw material supply

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Author: Obenaus-Emler, Robert1; Illikainen, Mirja2; Falah, Mahroo2;
Organizations: 1Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Chair of Ceramics, 8700 Leoben, Austria
2University of Oulu, Fibre and particle engineering research unit, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
3VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Material processing and geotechnology, Espoo, Finland
4Outotec Finland Oy, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: EDP Sciences, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-10-03


For ecologic and economic reasons tailings, waste rock and water management become progressively important factors in the mining industry. The European Union funded project ‘Integrated mineral technologies for more sustainable raw material supply’ (ITERAMS) aims to (1) close the water cycle of the mineral processing plant (i.e. minimizing the release of wastewater to the adjacent environment), and (2) to use tailings (and waste rock) as raw materials for geopolymers. This will (1) enable significantly more efficient water recycling at the mining sites, (2) deliver cost savings and added income due to the valorisation of solid waste residues, and (3) minimize the overall environmental footprint of the mining industry and will therefore help improving its performance and as a consequence its social position. The developed solutions influence the total lifecycle of the mining operation, as they provide input to project planning and operational phases as well as to the closure and recultivation. In this paper, the valorisation of the tailings and the waste rock is discussed. The main applications of the geopolymer products are (1) backfill material to fill open cavities from the mining operation and (2) a cover for surface deposits of tailings to store them environmentally safe — i.e. seal them off from surface water streams and oxidising conditions.

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Series: MATEC web of conferences
ISSN: 2274-7214
ISSN-E: 2261-236X
ISSN-L: 2261-236X
Volume: 274
Article number: 05001
DOI: 10.1051/matecconf/201927405001
Host publication: RICON17 - REMINE International Conference Valorization of Mining and other Mineral Wastes into Construction Materials by Alkali-Activation
Host publication editor: Castro-Gomes, J.
Zhou, X.
Durán-Suárez, J.
Sangiorgi, C.
Górski, M.
Yang, S.
Conference: REMINE International Conference on Valorization of Mining and other Mineral Wastes into Construction Materials by Alkali-Activation
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 215 Chemical engineering
218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730480.
EU Grant Number: (730480) ITERAMS - Integrated mineral technologies for more sustainable raw material supply
Copyright information: © The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.