Topic Editors

Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, CS, Italy
Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Italy
Department of Energy Engineering, University of Seville, 41092 Seville, Spain

Renewable Energies for Water Treatment and Reuse in Mining Industries

Abstract submission deadline
closed (31 March 2024)
Manuscript submission deadline
30 June 2024
Viewed by
3630

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is essential for the mining industry—for mineral extraction and cleaning, as well as for the needs of the miners and people’s lives around the mines. Nevertheless, the huge water footprint of the mining sector imposes a severe strain on the water–energy–raw material nexus.

The mining sector urgently needs a step change towards ecological modernization and sustainable development. In this scenario, the advent of advanced and green technologies provides new exciting opportunities, such as the reduction in water and energy consumption and extraction of water and valuable components from mine tailings.

In this issue, researchers are invited to contribute original research papers as well as review articles related to the implementation of environmentally friendly practices in the extractive sector. This issue embraces the following topics:

  • Assessment of the environmental and energetic impacts and the water footprint of the mining activities;
  • Rational use of water resources in the logic of a circular economy and a zero-liquid discharge in the extractive sector;
  • Implementation of carbon-free technological approaches for reducing the conventional energy resources requirements in mines;
  • Extraction of critical raw materials, valuable minerals, and metals from alternative sources (e.g., seawater mining);
  • Sustainable treatment of mining wastewaters and acid mine drainages (e.g., membrane processes).

Dr. Sergio Santoro
Dr. Francesco Chidichimo
Dr. Barbara Ruffino
Prof. Dr. Lourdes García-Rodríguez
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • mining industry
  • water–energy nexus
  • critical raw materials
  • wastewater treatment
  • circular economy
  • blue economy
  • zero-liquid discharge
  • renewable energies
  • membrane processes
  • heavy metals pollution

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Energies
energies
3.2 5.5 2008 16.1 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Membranes
membranes
4.2 4.4 2011 13.6 Days CHF 2700 Submit
Minerals
minerals
2.5 3.9 2011 18.7 Days CHF 2400 Submit
Toxics
toxics
4.6 3.4 2013 14.7 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Water
water
3.4 5.5 2009 16.5 Days CHF 2600 Submit

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Published Papers (2 papers)

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16 pages, 3527 KiB  
Article
Removal and Reclamation of Trace Metals from Copper and Gold Mine Tailing Leachates Using an Alkali Suspension Method
by Shunfeng Jiang, Yali Chen, Siqin Chen and Ziying Hu
Water 2023, 15(10), 1902; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15101902 - 17 May 2023
Viewed by 1304
Abstract
Leachates from mine tailing ponds, which usually contain a variety of metallic ions, are highly toxic to human and ecological health. The common methods used to remove those trace metallic are difficult due to the extremely acidic conditions and the diverse kinds of [...] Read more.
Leachates from mine tailing ponds, which usually contain a variety of metallic ions, are highly toxic to human and ecological health. The common methods used to remove those trace metallic are difficult due to the extremely acidic conditions and the diverse kinds of metals in mine tailing leachates. Herein, we proposed an economical and efficient soil-assisted alkali suspension approach to remove and reclaim the trace metals. Under the optimum conditions, more than 98% of Cu2+, Zn2+, and Cr3+, and 93% of Cd2+ were removed from authentic copper and gold tailing leachates. Multiple characterizations indicated that the quick removal of trace metal ions from leachates was mainly due to the formation of amorphous hydroxides which are easily adsorbed by soil particles. Additionally, small quantities of metal ions and organic matter complexes were formed, which contributed to the removal of trace metals. Furthermore, most of the adsorbed trace metal in authentic tailing leachate can be reclaimed by a simple acid treatment. Life cycle assessment analysis demonstrated the environmental sustainability of this alkali suspension method due to its smaller contribution to global warming. This study provides an efficient and low-cost approach for the disposal and recycling of toxic mine tailing leachates. Full article
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20 pages, 1131 KiB  
Article
Water-Energy Nexus in the Antofagasta Mining District: Options for Municipal Wastewater Reuse from a Nearly Energy-Neutral WWTP
by Giuseppe Campo, Barbara Ruffino, Arturo Reyes and Mariachiara Zanetti
Water 2023, 15(6), 1221; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15061221 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
The region of Antofagasta is the mining hearth of Chile. The water requirement of the local mining sector is 65% of the total water uses, with a water consumption of approx. 9 m3/s in the year 2020. That determines an important [...] Read more.
The region of Antofagasta is the mining hearth of Chile. The water requirement of the local mining sector is 65% of the total water uses, with a water consumption of approx. 9 m3/s in the year 2020. That determines an important pressure onto freshwater, which can only be alleviated by resorting to desalination or reuse of treated wastewater. At present, an amount equal to 90% of the wastewater generated in the city of Antofagasta is discharged into the ocean, after undergoing only preliminary treatments. The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which includes a conventional activated sludge (CAS) process, has a very low treatment capacity, insufficient to serve the whole population. A new WWTP will be built with the twofold aim of (i) purifying the totality of the wastewater generated from the city (approx. 320,000 equivalent inhabitants, e.i.), and (ii) allowing the reuse of 100% of the treated wastewater in the local mining sector, in agreement with the goals of the Chilean government. The new Antofagasta WWTP will include preliminary treatments and a conventional activated sludge (CAS) process with a higher treatment capacity. This study integrates a number of modeling tools, namely the Activated Sludge Model n.3 (ASM3), the Takacs model, and some stoichiometric and energy balances, to assess the impact that some changes, possibly introduced into the project of the new WWTP, could determine on its energy and environmental sustainability. Specifically, through an energy-economic-environmental (3-E) analysis, the original scheme of the planned WWTP was compared with three scenarios, of which Scenario 1 introduces anaerobic digestion (AD) of secondary sludge, Scenario 2 concerns primary sedimentation and AD of both primary and secondary sludge, and, finally, Scenario 3, other than primary sedimentation and AD, also includes a pre-denitrification process. The results of the study demonstrated that all the changes introduced by Scenario 3 were of capital importance to promote the transformation of the WWTP into a nearly energy-neutral water resource recovery facility (WRRF). Specifically, the processes/operations introduced with Scenario 3 can reduce the electric energy demand from external sources to only 20% of that of the original scheme, and consequently avoid the emission of 4390 tons CO2-equivalent/y. Full article
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