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The potential for copper slag waste as a resource for a circular economy: A review – Part I

Phiri, T.C., Singh, P. and Nikoloski, A.N. (2022) The potential for copper slag waste as a resource for a circular economy: A review – Part I. Minerals Engineering, 180 . Art. 107474.

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The mining industry faces a number of challenges that include rapid depletion of high-grade deposits, high energy cost for metal production, and growing environmental concerns associated with mining waste disposal. Copper slag is one of the mining wastes that is raising growing concern due to the huge volumes being produced and dumped annually worldwide. These huge quantities of slag not only cause environmental pollution and space problems for disposal, but they also waste valuable copper and cobalt. This is increasingly important due to the growing demand for these metals in emerging technologies, potentially resulting in a supply deficit from conventional mining production. To address these challenges, recycling and repurposing of copper slag waste using innovative technologies should be considered, creating a resource for a circular economy. This paper presents a review of copper slag production and its potential as a world resource for cobalt and copper metals. An overview of copper and cobalt production from ore reserves, and of global demand and supply risks for these metals is presented. The potential benefits of reprocessing copper slag waste using the circular economy model are discussed. This paper demonstrates that applying the circular economy principles to the copper slag waste has the potential to create additional economic value, improve the energy efficiency of the metal production, increase the supply of critical metals, and reduce the impacts of metal production on the environment.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Engineering and Energy
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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