Authors: Laine, J; Ortega, F; Luiña, R; Alvarez-Cabal, V

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Laine, J, Ortega, F, Luiña, R & Alvarez-Cabal, V 2015, 'Research trends on thickening mining wastes', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Paste 2015: Proceedings of the 18th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 195-208,

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The mining industry is a main generator of wastes. In many cases, those wastes are liquid because the mining process requires wet processes. This aspect is inherent to the industry and it is not completely avoidable. Anyway, during the last three decades this problem has been arisen as a main concern as the environmental conscience grows and the legal requirements become stricter. The effort in the reduction and optimisation of waste disposal techniques is guided by basic and applied research efforts that have been growing during this period. This paper presents a review of the published contributions related to thickening mining wastes in order to detect the evolution of research and engineering practice in the field with the objective to detect the main concerns in the fields, its evolution over time, as well as the relationships between them. It provides very relevant information about how the techniques evolve and specially how to detect the current and next futures trends for research and engineering application. Study is done through the scientometric (bibliometrical) analysis on published articles available from ISI web of Science database between 1900 and 2014. Data is treated with VOSviewer and TxtViz using text and data mining techniques. In order to produce effective searches, a previous identification of the main definitions present in the texts related to the field has been done, from initial knowledge but also created automatically through the scan of the selected papers, identifying patterns in the waste thickening literature. The final concepts, composed of up to three words, constituted the essential dictionary and are combined in the first ontology in this field. Results show clear tendencies in the field by the existence of some key concepts (e.g. flocculation, backfill, disposal) capable to create clusters around them.

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