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A SUSTAINABLE TAILINGS REPROCESSING PROJECT: A CASE OF STUDY IN PORTUGAL

J. Figueiredo, M. C.Vila, A. Fiuza
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

Tailings embankments are part of the legacy left by the intensive mining industry. These vast impoundment storages are associated with some adverse environmental and social impacts creating insecurity to the stakeholders. Mining tailings may also be a source of minerals with high grades. Reprocessing techniques may be used as an alternative solution to recover some metals and to rehabilitate these sites.
A sustainable reprocessing project commits to integrated management of threefold dimension objective: economic goals, environmental constraints, and social development. This work provides the metrics corresponding to the valuation of the reprocessing project feasibility of an old tailings dam located in Portugal, named Cabeço do Pião. Using a conceptual framework, the sustainability project was analyzed, and the fundamental elements (i.e., metal recovery, commodities prices, demographic indices, life cycle assessment) were allocated to achieve the threefold challenge. The definition of the used metrics, evidences significance in a decision-supported model for effective management of the project. The results of this study could contribute to ensuring the environmental security, promoting the welfare of the hosting communities and thus assisting the local economic development.

Keywords: Sustainable management; tailings reprocessing; mining project; decision-support models


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