University of Oulu

Niu, H., Adrianto, L.R., Escobar, A.G. et al. Potential of Mechanochemically Activated Sulfidic Mining Waste Rock for Alkali Activation. J. Sustain. Metall. 7, 1575–1588 (2021).

Potential of mechanochemically activated sulfidic mining waste rock for alkali activation

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Author: Niu, He1; Adrianto, Lugas Raka2; Escobar, Alexandra Gomez3;
Organizations: 1Fiber and Particle Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, 90570 Oulu, Finland
2Chair of Ecological Systems Design, Institute for Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich, John-von-Neumann-Weg 9, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
3Faculdade de Ciências, Instituto Dom Luiz, Universidade de Lisboa, Edifício C6, Piso 4, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
4Metso Outotec Finland Oy, Tukkikatu 1, P.O. Box 29, 53101 Lappeenranta, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-25


Sulfidic mining waste rock is a side stream from the mining industry with a potential environmental burden. Alkali activation is a promising method for transforming mining waste into construction materials. However, the low reactivity of minerals can be a sizeable challenge in alkali activation. In the present study, the reactivity of waste rock was enhanced by mechanochemical treatment with a LiCl-containing grinding aid. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT) analysis were utilized to display the structural alteration of individual minerals. A schematic implication of the grinding mechanism of mica was provided according to the results of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The alkaline solubility displayed the enhanced chemical reactivity of the waste rock, in which Si and Al solubility increased by roughly 10 times and 40 times, respectively. The amorphization of aluminosilicate is achieved through chemical assisted mechanochemical activation. Sulfidic waste rock, as the sole precursor in alkali activation, achieved a 28-day compressive strength exceeding 10 MPa under ambient curing conditions. The simulation of the upscaled grinding process was conducted via the HSCChemistry® software with a life-cycle assessment. The results showed that mining waste rock can be a promising candidate for geopolymer production with a lower carbon footprint, compared to traditional Portland cement.

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Series: Journal of sustainable metallurgy
ISSN: 2199-3823
ISSN-E: 2199-3831
ISSN-L: 2199-3823
Volume: 7
Issue: 4
Pages: 1575 - 1588
DOI: 10.1007/s40831-021-00466-9
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 216 Materials engineering
212 Civil and construction engineering
Funding: This research was funded by the European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 under Grant Agreement No. 812580, Project “MSCA-ETN SULTAN. P.P. gratefully acknowledges the financial support received from the Academy of Finland [GEOMINS Grant # 319676], and P. K. is grateful for the support from the University of Oulu and The Academy of Finland #326291.
EU Grant Number: (812580) SULTAN - European Training Network for the remediation and reprocessing of sulfidic mining waste sites
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 319676
Detailed Information: 319676 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
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