TA11A Case Studies on Minerals and Metals Products
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() Mineral resources depletion and its impact on the generation of solid wastes and power consumption.

Wiertz, J.1, Pena, C.2, Rozas, I.1, 1 Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile2 Chilean Research Center for Mining and Metallurgy, Santiago, Chile

ABSTRACT- Based on literature and data of power consumption of the mining industry in Chile, we are studying a) the relation between the decline in the resources' quality and the increase in Energy consumption. Future scenario for mining operation could be to make a "greater attack" for recovering the same amount of metal, and consequently, more energy will also be needed (mineral depletion will conduct to the mining industry to the treatment of concentrates of lower quality). b) The relation between the decline of mineral resources quality and the increase of metallurgical remainders. When mineral grade diminish, the level of generated remainders increases. For example, in the Chilean copper industry the declining in copper content in the mineral, increases the arsenic content in the concentrate. We want to answer questions such as, how this situation of increase of unwished elements impacts the copper Smeltings?, by using the analysis of historical data about the qualities of concentrates, and also by using information on existing copper reserves, and copper resource predictions, based on nowadays technology and its perspectives. It is necessary to emphasize the fact that for developing countries like Chile, primary resources depletion is a key element in the economic and social development since, metallic recycling operation there are quite small. This study is just one month in progress, but we will have some results to present, at the end of this year.

Key words: Sustainability, Mineral depletion, Mining

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