Mining and Minerals

Webinar: Circular Economy Series: Early-Stage Design and Development of Mine Waste Reuse Technologies

Webinar: Circular Economy Series: Early-Stage Design and Development of Mine Waste Reuse Technologies
  • Date From 25th October 2023
  • Date To 25th October 2023
  • Price Free of charge, open to all.
  • Location Online: 09:00 BST. Duration: 1 hour.


A case study of South African sulfide-enriched coal waste

Mining and minerals beneficiation typically result in the production of both valuable products and large bodies of waste, which are traditionally disposed on land with both environmental and social risks implications. Circular economy and resource efficiency trends have shifted the focus from disposal to waste reuse and recycling.

Despite the benefits of the circular economy approach, development, and implementation of waste reuse technologies in the mining industry is fraught with challenges and has thus far been limited.

When designing processes for the application of large-volume mine waste, information deficits are encountered. This is largely because the characteristics of mine waste tend to be poorly understood or unknown as well as highly complex due to residual target minerals and processing chemicals present in the gangue components.

Furthermore, whilst the technologies used may not be novel, their application in the processing of wastes is generally untested or inadequately researched. Working within such a context, with many unknowns, makes selection of appropriate technologies difficult. Another potential difficulty associated with designing/developing for waste reuse is that unsolicited novel technologies by research institutions can face opposition upon implementation. When designed and developed processes remain unimplemented, research resources are wasted and an opportunity to effect much-needed change is missed.

Our work tackled the above challenges through the development of a generalised systematic approach for the early-stage design and development of technologies for the reuse of mineral beneficiation waste that addresses both technology transfer and information deficit issues. The generalised approach was then applied to the case study of South African sulfide-enriched fine coal processing waste and several key learnings emerged. The study ultimately aimed at facilitating the sustainable management of large-volume mineral beneficiation waste in line with the principles of industrial ecology and circular economy.


Helene-Marie Stander, Researcher, University of Cape Town

Helene-Marie holds a BEng in chemical engineering from the University of Pretoria and an MPhil in Business Ethics from the same institution. Her PhD work (conducted at the University of Cape Town) contributes to improving mines’ negative environmental and social footprints through improving the rate and efficiency with which university- and research institution-developed mine waste valorisation technologies are commercialised by developing a structured approach to the early stages of design and development. The approach was further demonstrated and tested on the case study of sulfide-enriched fine coal waste, which is acid generating and therefore poses long-term environmental risks if disposed of to landfill.

The material presented in this webinar has not been peer-reviewed. Any opinions are the presenter's own and do not necessarily represent those of IChemE or the Mining and Minerals Special Interest Group. The information is given in good faith but without any liability on the part of IChemE.


09:00–10:00 BST.


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This webinar is free of charge and open to all to attend, but if you wish to access the slides and a recording to replay on demand then you will need to be a member of the Mining and Minerals Special Interest Group.

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