Use of real options to enhance water-energy nexus in mine tailings management

Araya, Natalia; Ramirez, Yendery; Cisternas, Luis A.; Kraslawski, Andrzej


The tailing storage facility is the largest water sink in most mines. An incorrect management of water content in mine tailings can become a threat to their stability, and consequently, their environmental safety. Also, water reuse and recycling are plausible options to mining companies for reasons pertaining to water scarcity. Dewatering technologies for tailings, desalination and water transport are energy intensive. Proper handling of mine tailings and water supply management can considerably improve the water-energy nexus. This article evaluates the water-energy nexus in copper mining companies using a water reduction model focused on mine tailing facilities and water supply to the mine site to find the trade-offs between water and energy. The originality of this work consists in the application of a real options approach, enabling to increase the flexibility of decision-making thanks to quantitative analysis. This approach deploys the Monte Carlo simulation to perform sensitivity and uncertainty analysis to evaluate every cost component of water management strategy. Results show that if seawater is the primary source of raw water to the mining plant, water transport represents the largest cost due to the use of energy. So, improving the reuse of water by using dewatering technologies will improve the water energy nexus, by improving energy consumption. Even though the costs of these technologies are elevated because they are energy-intensive, reduction of water use requirements in the mine will reduce the cost of its treatment and transport.

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Título según WOS: Use of real options to enhance water-energy nexus in mine tailings management
Título de la Revista: APPLIED ENERGY
Volumen: 303
Fecha de publicación: 2021


Notas: ISI