Historically, much of the waste from mining activities has posed long-term liability issues with little or no economic value. But what if mining companies could recover the metals, like gold, and then sell them? The answer, these days, is obvious: they could reduce their environmental impact and, at the same time, contribute to a green economy.
Terry Cheng, hydrometallurgist and research scientist at CanmetMINING is reprocessing mining wastes as resources — particularly gold tailings. He is examining options to reprocess and repurpose mine wastes to reduce environment impacts and recover valuable byproducts such as critical and strategic metals (e.g. gold, about two grams per tonne).
Hydrogen — the most abundant element in the world — has the potential to fuel underground mining vehicles, and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) scientists are using its power in new technologies to bring clean energy to the mining industry.
Rare earth elements are used in manufacturing parts for a wide range of high-tech consumer products such as cell phones and computer hard drives. Natural Resources Canada scientist Tesfaye Negeri explains the processes he is developing to separate and isolate rare earth elements.
In this episode of our Ask NRCan podcast, we sit down with expert Janice Zinck to discuss what rare earth elements are, why they are important and what type of research Natural Resources Canada is doing to help Canadian industry.