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SURVEY OF U.S. MINERAL AND METAL PROCESS

RESIIhJES

Jeanette B. Berry,

Moonis

R. Ally,

Leslie R. Dole, Juan J. Ferrada, and J. W.

VanDyke

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 3783 l-6070 E-mail:

berryjb@oml.gov

Abstract

The U.S. mineral processing industry produces over

30,000,OOO

metric tons per year of

process residue and waste that may contain hazardous species as well as valuable by-products.

Copper, lead, and zinc commodity sectors generate between

23,300,OOO

and

24,000,OOO

metric tons per year of process residue. An evaluation of these sectors resulted in mining process flow diagrams and technical descriptions, and evaluation of major sources of process

residue by commodity sector

[l].

This survey identified the following process residues and

waste as having by-product recovery potential:

copper-dust and fine particles, tailings, slag waste, and gas cleaning sludge;

  • lead-dust and fine particles, tailings, slag; and

  • zinc-dust and fine particles, liquor residues, undesirable elements in solution,

b

&slag.

Metal concentrations in process residue can exceed metal concentration in the natural ore and may therefore present opportunities for by-product recovery. The economics of by-product recovery are influenced by the cost of managing process residue as a waste (e.g., storage and/or disposal), the cost of the process residue before additional processing, the value of

residuals and products after processing, and the processing cost. Since

r‘productivity

gains

tend to increase as value is added to a product while it moves downstream,” process residue generated by downstream processes present opportunities to recover by-products returning value to the mining industry

[2].

1

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