Rehabilitation and reprocessing of minesites and tailings for resource recovery

Project Summary

13 August 2018

Sector: Science, Technology and Innovation
Country location: Australia, Republic of Korea
Grantee: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

resource recovery and rehabilitation of minesite tailings. Reprocess is to Extract further valuable material. Stockpile is to Store for future use. Downcycle is to Use for a low purpose. Remediate is to Remediate after all uses have been explored.

Wealth from waste: resource recovery and rehabilitation of minesite tailings. Credit: Hyungsik Park (minesite image) and Mark Pownceby (design).

Project Description

Mine wastes generated from mining activities are usually divided into two categories: (i) tailings, generated from processing of ore, and (ii) waste-rock, produced when uncovering ore. Both pose environmental threats as drainage from tailings and waste-rock often contains highly toxic metals and high acidity due to weathering processes acting on the wastes. 

Korea has 379 closed or abandoned minesites with an estimated 15,018,000 cubic metres of tailings and waste yet to be re-mediated or potentially re-processed for metal recovery. Despite the potential environmental impact, a coherent tailings management and/or metal recovery strategy is not implemented. In contrast, Australia adopts a mature and aggressive approach to tailings management and re-processing through innovative science and technological solutions. The planned project exposes Korean researchers to state-of-the-art tailings management, reprocessing and metal recovery activities currently applied in Australia. The project has transformative potential for Korea through establishing a network of expertise amongst academia and industry. 

The project will develop and execute an international workshop in Korea and site-based visits between CSIRO and Korean NST research institutes to transfer knowledge for the implementation of a minesite environmental remediation and metal recovery strategy for Korea.

Key dates:

  • 3-day workshop in Korea, Seoul or Daejeon Korea, 04 February to 31 March 2019
  • Follow-up technical discussions at CSIRO Mineral Resources laboratories, Melbourne, 01 May 2019 to 01 June 2019

Social media:; Warren Bruckard and Mark Pownceby Linked-In accounts

Australia-Korea Foundation grant offer: $25,400.00

Last Updated: 7 August 2018