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MIWARE: Mine water as a resource

​Case study – Gold mining process water in Northern Finland


​One of the major challenges confronting the mining and minerals processing industry in the 21st century will be managing in an environment of ever decreasing water resources. Especially polluted mine water, from both active and abandoned mines represent a major problem worldwide. Discharge from the latter has been recognised as the main cause of 7% of failures to achieve the goals of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). There are about 50,000 km of rivers contaminated by these discharges worldwide, of which at least 8,000 km are in Europe.

The objective of the project is to develop and demonstrate robust solutions for mine waste waters a voluminous waste water flow with wide ecological effects. Our focus is in developing solutions for acidic metal-laden waste waters with a focus on recovery of the valuable metals with new methods. Our ambition is to provide robust economic solutions that are applicable world-wide in variable conditions.
The project consortium includes research organisations, SMEs, large technology providers and end users who all will contribute to the development of new integrated solutions for the treatment of metal and sulphate laden waste waters. The partners are from Finland, Sweden and South Africa.

Technological deliverables include the development of microflotation, selective fibre adsorption for pollutant removal with recovery, biological methods for precipitation of metals and reduction of sulphates, REE recovery using selective crystallisation/chromatography. The techno-economic sustainability of these solutions will be assessed and demonstrated in Nordic and South African environments.