Towards mine tailings valorization: Recovery of critical materials from Chilean mine tailings
Araya, Natalia; Kraslawski, Andrzej; Cisternas, Luis (2020-04-09)
Post-print / Final draft
Journal of Cleaner Production
School of Engineering Science
The aim of this study was to investigate the techno-economic feasibility of producing critical raw materials from mine tailings. Data from 477 Chilean tailings facilities were analyzed and used in the techno-economic assessment of the valorization of mine tailings in the form of CRMs recovery. A review of applicable technologies was performed to identify suitable technologies for mine tailings processing. To assess the economic feasibility of CRMs production, net present value (NPV) was calculated using the discounted cash flow (DCF) method. Sensitivity analysis and design of experiments were performed to analyze the influence of independent variables on NPV. Two options were assessed, rare earth oxides (REOs) production and vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) production. The results show that it is possible to produce V2O5 with an NPV of 76 million US$. In the case of REOs, NPV is positive but rather low, which indicates that the investment is risky. Sensitivity analysis and the ANOVA run using the design of experiments indicated that the NPV of REOs is highly sensitive to the price of REOs and to the discount rate.
Araya, N., Kraslawski, A., Cisternas, L. (2020). Towards mine tailings valorization: Recovery of critical materials from Chilean mine tailings. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 263. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121555
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