Cardiff University’s milestone paper on in-situ mining

Devin Sapsford and colleagues from University of Cardiff, i.e. one of the key EURELCO Partners, have just published an original research article in the Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, which deals with in-situ mining of metals from landfills containing mining waste residues. The in-situ landfill mining approach is complementary to the ex-situ approach where waste streams are excavated and processed.

Abstract: Wastes and the waste repositories in which they reside are becoming targets for resource recovery, both forlegacy wastes and for future waste arisings as part of a desire to move toward a circular economy. There is an urgent requirement to explore concepts for practicable technologies that can be applied to these ends. This paper presents a synthesis of concepts concerning in situ technologies (developed from mining and contaminated landremediation industries) that have enormous potential for application to technospheric mining. Furthermore, potential target waste streams and their mineralogy and character are presented along with a discussion concerning lixiviant and metal capture systems that could be applied. Issues ofpreferential flow (critical to the success of in situ techniques) and how to control it with engineering measures are discussed in detail. It is clear that in situ recovery of metals from anthropogenic ores is a novel technology area that links new sustainable remediation approaches for contaminated materials and technospheric mining for closing material loops, and warrants the further research and development of technologies applicable to major waste streams.

Full reference: D. Sapsford et al., In Situ Resource Recovery from Waste Repositories: Exploring the Potential for Mobilization and Capture of Metals from Anthropogenic Ores, Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, 2017 [DOI 10.1007/s40831-016-0102-4]. Download here.