A New Procedure for Deep Sea Mining Tailings Disposal
1.1. Tailings Disposal Methods Introduction
1.2. Evaluation Method Introduction
2. Tailings Disposal Methods
2.1. Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD)
2.2. Tailings Dam Disposal (TDD)
2.3. Backfill Disposal (BD)
2.4. Tailings Reuse Disposal (TRD)
3. DSM Tailings Disposal
3.1. Tailings Disposal Distributions in the DSM Process
3.2. Advantage and Disadvantage Analysis of the Reviewed Tailings Disposal Methods
3.3. Tailings Disposal Method Suitable for the DSM Systems
- A higher degree of tailings utilization. The tailings at different engineering fields have different definitions. For instance, in Japan, the tailings and waste can be divided into different classifications: by-product, waste in law, municipal waste, and industrial waste. A high degree of tailings utilization also represents a more environmentally friendly tailings disposal system for the mine sites.
- Extra economic value. The tailings are transferred from waste to products, e.g., cement and bituminous mixtures for land or island reclamation.
- Reasonable operation costs. The tailings separation refinements can also produce an optimal operation plan for the tailings disposal. For instance, although tailings dam disposal needs only a small preliminary capital investment, the long-term operation costs and the long distance transport costs account for a big proportion of the total expenditure. On the contrary, deep sea submarine tailings disposal needs a large preliminary capital investment. However, its short-term maintenance costs and the transportation expenditure are much lower than tailings dam disposal for DSM tailings treatment .
- An effective working combination will be a problem. The SBDR tailings disposal procedure is innovated from the existing tailings disposal methods. It takes the DSM special working environment and different working conditions into consideration. Additionally, the tailings dam disposal utilized in the SBDR procedure is also a new tailings disposal method, which only exists in some special mining areas .
- The utilization of different tailings disposal methods also represents a high preliminary capital investment. For instance, the working mechanism of the SBDR tailings disposal procedure should consist of a more sophisticated minerals separation system; a pipe system utilized to transport the tailings 1100 m below the ocean; vessels to hold and transport the active, organic, non-geological contaminants and tailings; the tailings dam; tailings dehydration and consolidation mechanisms; a tailings transformation machine transferring the wastes into the reused products.
- Environmental effects on the site where the tailings are discharged and reused. For instance, the tailings discharged 1100 m below the ocean will increase the heavy metal concentrations there. Besides, although there is almost no upwelling in the deep sea , the fine particles of the tailings can also be dispersed by the plumes, influencing the surrounding ocean ecosystem. Additionally, if the tailings are used as construction materials for embankments or for island reclamation, the environment of the places where tailings are reused will be altered. The alterations consist of the PH and element concentrations of the surrounding groundwater and the ground soil, and the habitat of the vegetation and animals. Furthermore, the environmental alteration can also influence the fisheries nearby .
4. Evaluation of Tailings Disposal Methods
4.1. Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)
4.2. Analytic Network Process (ANP)
4.3. The Questionnaire for the Data Collection
4.4. ANP Application on the DSM Tailings Disposal
Conflicts of Interest
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|Deep sea submarine tailings disposal||1. Prevention of acid mine drainage.|
2. Geotechnically stable.
3. Minimal land surface used.
4. Short transport distance.
5. Short-term maintenance.
|1. Overlay the benthic organisms. |
2. Physical and geochemical alteration of the seabed environment.
3. Release contaminants into the sea.
4. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals through the food chain .
|Backfill disposal||1. Short transport distance, making it cost effective .|
2. Decrease the mine footprint .
3. Tailings are almost environmentally friendly .
4. Operation simplicity.
5. Inhibit the oxidation .
|1. Short-term increase of the tailings concentration in the nearby ocean area .|
2. Overlay the benthic organism.
3. Release the toxicity contaminants into the sea .
|Tailings dam disposal (paste)||1. Low preliminary investment.|
2. Decrease the waste water volume.
3. Decrease the construction embankment materials.
4. Operation simplicity [7,35].
|1. Ground water pollution.|
2. Long-term maintenance in the mining process and even after the mining closure .
3. Erosion and sedimentation generate acidic conditions .
4. Flexible to the nature hazards, e.g., seismic and strong precipitation .
|Tailings reuse disposal||1. Create new values.|
2. Decrease the environmental effects at the mining site .
|1. Environmental alteration at the tailings reused site, e.g., PH, groundwater drainage, heavy metals concentration, and the surrounding organisms .|
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Ma, W.; Schott, D.; Lodewijks, G. A New Procedure for Deep Sea Mining Tailings Disposal. Minerals 2017, 7, 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/min7040047
Ma W, Schott D, Lodewijks G. A New Procedure for Deep Sea Mining Tailings Disposal. Minerals. 2017; 7(4):47. https://doi.org/10.3390/min7040047Chicago/Turabian Style
Ma, Wenbin, Dingena Schott, and Gabriël Lodewijks. 2017. "A New Procedure for Deep Sea Mining Tailings Disposal" Minerals 7, no. 4: 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/min7040047