In situ resource recovery from waste repositories: exploring the potential for mobilization and capture of metals from anthropogenic ores

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Sapsford, Devin James ; Cleall, Peter ; Harbottle, Michael (2017)

Wastes and the waste repositories in which they reside are becoming targets for resource recovery, both for legacy wastes and for future waste arisings as part of a desire to move toward a circular economy. There is an urgent requirement to explore concepts for practicable technologies that can be applied to these ends. This paper presents a synthesis of concepts concerning in situ technologies (developed from mining and contaminated land remediation industries) that have enormous potential for application to technospheric mining. Furthermore, potential target waste streams and their mineralogy and character are presented along with a discussion concerning lixiviant and metal capture systems that could be applied. Issues of preferential flow (critical to the success of in situ techniques) and how to control it with engineering measures are discussed in detail. It is clear that in situ recovery of metals from anthropogenic ores is a novel technology area that links new sustainable remediation approaches for contaminated materials and technospheric mining for closing material loops, and warrants the further research and development of technologies applicable to major waste streams.
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