Integrated mineral technologies for more sustainable raw material supply

About the project

The aim of ITERAMS is to develop a proof of concept for more environmentally friendly and economic mine site operations, in Europe and globally. For that, the ITERAMS project focuses on the isolation of process waters completely from the adjacent water systems. This will require development of new methods for optimising and controlling water qualities at each process step. As a bonus, this will also facilitate the recovery of additional valuable constituents.

The ITERAMS project will develop research and dimensioning protocols suitable for use at the mines processing different ores. In this context, validation of the concepts will have an essential role. In the planned project, it will be performed at selected mine sites processing sulphide ores, although the concepts will be generic and thus also suitable for other types of ores like gold, rare earth, and phosphate ores.

The closure of water cycles at each process stage will inevitably increase their thermodynamical and kinetic unstability (as is also the case with conventional tailing ponds). In addition, water temperatures will also increase, causing higher bacterial growth, especially for iron and sulphur oxidising species. This will result in a dynamic situation that has never so far been worked on. The ITERAMS project will create new academic and industrial knowledge and capabilities to tackle such questions. The tightly closed water cycles can be realised only if the tailings can be filtered and stacked dry. ITERAMS will demonstrate the use of geopolymerisation to create water and oxygen tight covers on the deposited tailings. For that, the tailings streams will be modified for easier geopolymerisation.

The ITERAMS water and waste efficient methods will be validated at mine sites in Finland, in Portugal and additionally either in Chile or South Africa.

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