OZ Minerals, Boliden and Rio Tinto form Waste-to-Value Challenge to improve tailings operations
Rio Tinto and Boliden working in collaboration with OZ Minerals created the Waste-to-Value Challenge which aims to unlock innovative technologies for managing tailings to help the mining industry to reduce risk while extracting valuable minerals.
Under the umbrella of the Think & Act Differently (TAD) incubator initiative, OZ Minerals, Boliden and Rio Tinto will fund and support innovators who are working to reimagine mining and processing to eliminate, minimize, reuse or find value in mine tailings. The three companies will also collaborate on other selected innovations to pursue improved productivity while delivering benefits such as lower emissions and reduced waste.
“We can accelerate technology much faster by working together and this is an example of how the industry can collaborate to support technology development,” Michelle Ash, OZ Minerals’ Technology Executive said in a statement. “We hope this way of working and supporting innovators provides a model that can be replicated because accelerated technology development is likely to have a positive impact on our industry and society.”
Joanna Lindahl, Boliden Mines’ Sustainability Director added, “By collaboration on generic challenges for the mining industry in a pre-competitive setting we will be able to make progress faster and more resource efficient. For the inventors and startup companies in the TAD incubator, it is also an excellent opportunity to get insights and business understanding from several different mining companies. We are very much looking forward for this collaboration and hope to find new opportunities to strengthen the industry in the future.”
Mark Davies, Chief Technical Officer for Rio Tinto added, “It isn’t very often that competitors come together to collaborate on industry-critical work. One such area historically has been Health, Safety & Environment, where we learned that sharing leading practices boosts our collective performance. We think collaborating on tailings management capability improvement could have a similar, industry-wide impact. We’re excited to be partnering with Boliden and OZ Minerals through the TAD program.”
The collaboration will support innovators by providing materials, funding, technical guidance and the potential for field trials at mine operations. Innovators will retain ownership of their intellectual property rights, with a license to use those rights granted to the companies that support them.
The mining and processing industry has many long-term tailings projects across the world. Tailings are residues created from mining, refining, smelting and water treatment processes.
The Think & Act Differently program, powered by OZ Minerals, works towards building an ecosystem of partners who will explore and accelerate themes that prioritize social and environmental responsibility for the development of the modern mine.
The collective group has selected a glycine leaching technology from Czech chemical company, Draslovka Holdings to provide its glycine leaching technology (GlyLeachTM and GlyCat Processes) represents its best environmentally friendly alternative to traditional acid and cyanide leaching.
“Due to its selectivity over gangue minerals and the recyclability of glycine, it enables the recovery of both base and precious metals from lower grade resources like tailings. This leads to a more sustainable production process and improved economics that are desperately needed to close the looming critical metal supply deficit,” the company said in a press release.
“I am proud that Draslovka has been invited to participate in the Waste-to-Value Challenge with forward looking companies that understand the need to reimagine solutions for the mining industry. This aligns with our ambition to become the leading supplier for innovative and sustainable solutions for the wider mining industry,” Ivor Bryan, Draslovka’s Mining Innovation Director said.
Photo: OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena project. Credit, OZ Minerals.