The Australian government announced recently that it has released a map of mine waste sites, which could allow some sites to be reprocessed to collect critical minerals.
According to Reuters, The Atlas of Mine Waste was released on 31 May and identifies 1,050 sites as possible sources of critical minerals. This comes after some of the country’s miners have developed business arms for reprocessing mine waste for metal extraction as part of mine remediation.
“Some of the minerals we need now, and into the future, may not just be in the ground – they're also in rock piles and tailings on mine sites around the country," Resources Minister Madeleine King said.
“These minerals might not have been of interest when first extracted but could now be in hot demand as the world seeks to decarbonise – for example, cobalt in the tailings of old copper mines.”
He added that this reprocessing can also breathe new life into old mining towns, create jobs and boost economies.
Work first began on the atlas last April, produced in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Queensland, the Geological Survey of New South Wales, the Northern Territory Geological Survey, the Geological Survey of Victoria, the Geological Survey of South Australia, the Geological Survey of Western Australia and Mineral Resources Tasmania along with RMIT University, and the University of Queensland.
More information on the atlas can be found at https://portal.ga.gov.au/persona/minewaste.