IN SITU PROCESSES IN RESOURCE EXTRACTIONUnited Kingdom
Cardiff University, Warwick University,University of the West of England, NRW, CIWM, Viridor
Cardiff School of Engineering, The parade
Cardiff CF24 3AA, Wales
T: +44 292 087 08 43
The project will be looking at resource extraction from the full range of wastes currently in UK waste repositories including industrial and commercial waste, incinerator and fuel ash, mineral and municipal wastes. Societies have historically disposed of vast quantities of industrial, municipal, metallurgical and mining waste into the ground. Generally considered as a legacy waste issue, this research project seeks to reconsider waste repositories as “resource hubs” for future recovery of valuable materials and energy. The concept and technology of in situ leaching has been developed in the mining industry for recovery of uranium and copper. The possibility of transferring this concept for application to recovery of resource from waste repositories has, however, not been fully addressed. The rationale behind the research is to examine new technologies for resource recovery with a lower environmental impact than active (‘dig and process’) mining. In situ leaching could potentially sidestep many problems involved in extraction of materials and energy from waste repositories, and this could have important consequences not only in the UK, but around the world. The processes investigated are anticipated to have substantially lower environmental and human health impacts in comparison to retrieval of resources by ‘conventional’ dig-and-process mining of the same wastes.
To contribute towards the development of a new and exciting research field related to resource recovery from existing waste repositories. This research project will consider resource extraction from the full range of wastes currently in UK waste repositories including industrial and commercial waste (anticipated to be metal-rich), incinerator and fuel ash, mineral wastes and municipal wastes to examine the idea of in situ leaching.