[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mining and quarrying activities in Europe generate approximately 55% of total industrial wastes, according to a recent Eurostat report. Most of these wastes are directly dumped on land or deposited in landfill sites. The first solution may lead to negative environmental impacts on land (removal of vegetation, deforestation, land slope changes and increased risk of erosion), water (pollutant transport through surface runoff, soil infiltration and contamination of water resources), may lead to the contamination of agricultural goods and may impose risks on human health. In Portugal, about 20% of industrial waste produced originates from mines and quarries, particularly from Panasqueira mining, one of the largest tungsten mines in the world. Currently, Panasqueira mining generates almost 100 tonnes of waste-rock, per day. Such waste-rock have accumulated over a number of years into very large heaps and it is desirable to seek new economic solutions that can contribute towards their reuse. In this context, this work discusses the potential for reuse of waste-rock piles of Panasqueira tungsten mine, which may be a case statement to be followed. The proposed solution described in this paper consists in developing innovative polymer-based composite materials, obtained from non-contaminated waste-rock tailings. Such materials must have suitable properties for technical-artistic value added applications, such as conservation, restoration and/or rehabilitation of historic monuments, sculptures, decorative and architectural intervention, or simply as materials for building revetments.
Journal of Cleaner Production 03/2012; 25:34-41. · 3.40 Impact Factor