Water-Energy Nexus for Waste Minimisation in the Mining Industry

Ramírez Angel, Yendery; Mujataba, Iqbal M.; Linke, Patrick; Kraslawski, Andrzej; Cisternas, Luis A

Keywords: waste management, environmental assessment, water management, greenhouse gas emissions, technology assessment, economic assessment, water-energy nexus, Circular economy, Mining Industry Sustainability, Mine Tailings reprocessing


Water and energy use are intrinsically intertwined and are critical factors influencing mining sustainability. The rising demand for metals and the decrease of ore grade cause the increase of water volume required and the waste amount generated. Moreover, the reprocessing of mine tailings for the recovery of valuable materials trigger consumption of water and energy. All those factors are a threat to sustainability. The water-energy nexus in the mining industry has a significant impact on sustainability since decreasing waste by reusing, recycling, and reducing the water and energy consumption. Therefore, urge the need for suitable management of water and energy use that lead the way for sustainable mining industry in the context of the circular economy to attain the rising problems. The dissertation aims to provide an insight into the decision-making process to ensure the sustainable operation of mining processes and the related reprocessing of production waste. It is obtained through a comprehensive assessment of technological, environmental, and economic aspects of the operations concerned. The water-energy nexus analysis is applied through the development of frameworks to facilitate and support the decision-making process of stakeholders, to improve the water and waste management in the mining industry that leads to a sustainable circular economy. The main outputs of the dissertation are: The technology assessment provides an insight to decision-makers to aid them to improve technologies so that they can meet specific customers’ demands; The environmental assessment offers a straightforward and fast analysis of the energy consumption influence in water treatment and distribution systems and its effect onto the environment, considering water distribution systems, water quality, and how energy affects these variables; The economic assessment of the feasibility of reprocessing mining tailings to recover critical raw materials, considering the uncertainties involved; and the water-energy nexus assessment on tailings facilities to found and optimised the trade-offs between water and energy. Therefore, obtaining the guidance for proper mine tailings and water management in the mining industry.

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Editorial: Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT
Fecha de publicación: 2022
Página final: 159
Idioma: Inglés
URL: https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-335-835-5