Mine tailings, the byproduct of mining and mineral processing, are increasingly mass-produced as a result of increased demand for metals and minerals as well as the advancement in technology that allows for the exploitation of lower-grade ores. Lower grades can increase the volume of tailings that may contain new gangue minerals that should be evaluated for the presence of critical minerals and other valuable metals. The practice of reprocessing, while relatively new, is crucial to reducing environmental damages, obtaining valuable critical minerals from waste, and contributing to more sustainable repurposing and disposal methods. With the increase in tailings dam failures in recent years, there is a large motivating factor in remining and removing the potential hazard to benefit the safety of potentially impacted communities. In analyzing the perspectives of various domestic and international studies, this literature review will determine the feasibility of reprocessing and reutilizing mine tailings waste for a more sustainable future while exploring current practices that have benefitted ecosystems and communities.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2022) 39:49–54, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-021-00524-6