Researchers have managed to find a way for reducing the impact of mining processes on our environment and it can be done by lowering the product stockpiles.
In a project with CSIRO, the Australia’s department of water examined some of the unused mining industries by their product materials for determining that whether or not they can be employed for the filtration of the nutrients from the natural water, as they could be further used for treating the waste water which otherwise has to be discarded.
Grant Douglas, the project leader of CSIRO said that by employing low price products which are generated from the mineral processing can provide an alternative solution which will be environmental friendly and cost effective. According to him, the unexploited by-product materials which are generated in the Western Australia can be developed as the contaminant absorbents.
The research also proved an important aspect that some of the mining products are effectual in preventing the nutrients in river systems, which will further reduce the algal blooms.
They also assessed the range of suitable products which can be employed for establishing the nutrient level of waste water and it is also helpful in reducing the acidity. After their procurement and identification, the basic characterization of these products included toxicity, leachate chemistry, geochemical modeling, radioactivity, mineralogy and trace elements geochemistry. The suitability of these products and their inherent properties were further examined for the potential use of the environment, according to CSIRO.
These products were further employed for the four year trial. The range of such products as well as the other potentially beneficial for the mineral based substances were assessed including their NUA (neutralized used acid). In this process the red sand and the red mud were also used from alumina refining industries. The other substances included range of some rocks, carbonate materials, groundwater treatment residue, laterite, fly ash, zeolite, attapulgite, calcined magnesia, activated carbon. These substances were considered to be preferable since they can be easily found in the south west region of Western Australia.
Now, according to the results of the trials and assessments of NUA, these products can be employed either unaided or they can be employed with calcined magnesia, laterite, fly ash, zeolite, attapulgite. The reason behind this was that these substances possessed the potential for soil amendments.
Moreover, the different combinations of calcined magnesia and NUA showed the vast range of the characteristics which could be useful for the environment applications.
According to the reports of CSIRO, “The different combinations of calcined magnesia and NUA exhibit the effective range of the trace elements and the nutrient species. These also have the ability to attenuate the acidity and to buffer pH of water; it is also further helpful in improving the soil structure, turf growth rates, nutrient utilization and water holding capacity.”
In addition to this, addition of these products to the soil also reduced its water usage and the turf health improved. According to reports, these products can be the best solution for the ill effects of mining on the environment.
Marc has been working for Barminco, a corporate social responsible mining company operating in Australia and Africa, also known as “Exploitation minière souterraine” in French.