By now China has faced an important environmental issue, piles of tailings. Tailings are materials’ leftover after a process of separating valuable fraction from mineral ores. The storage of tailings has led to many problems, but tailings are not 100% valueless. There are still some useful composition contained in tailings which can achieve a comprehensive utilization.
Problems caused by much tailing storage:
1. Occupation of land. China is experiencing a rapid industrialization and urbanization, so the consumption of mineral ores is large. As a result, a lot of tailings are continuously produced. In order to store these tailings, more and more lands are occupied.
2. The waste of ore resources. Although the tailings would be made up of gangue materials to some degree, the sought-after mineral also appears in the tailings. Besides, at the preliminary phase of China‘s mineral processing, the technology of mineral separation is not that advanced, thus it leads to much valuable fraction left in mineral ores. If not recycle these tailings, it will result in much waste.
3. Environmental pollution. Drug is often used in mineral processing and remained in tailings. Some toxic heavy metals are also contained in tailings, causing a significant environmental hazard. In addition, when tailings are naturally dried up, tailing dust can be blown away from the storage area, damaging the environment.
4. Potential risk. Tailings are usually stored in dam or pond. Tailing dam failure is the biggest danger threatening people’s lives and properties. And also it will release tailings, which pollute the environment.
The disposal of tailings:
1. Apply high technology to re-separate tailings so as to maximize recycling valuable composition of tailings. In this way, tailings can be reduced.
2. Tailings can be raw materials of construction. Sand making machine are often applied to process tailings.
3. Use coarse tailings to fill the gob. Usually tailings need to be separated, and use the coarse ones to fill the gob. The fine tailings are stored in tailing dam.
4. Use the tailings in highway, polder, etc.
5. Store tailings in tailing dam, which is the most common way of disposing tailings.