Authors: Ndonga, GHE; Mpanza, MM

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Ndonga, GHE & Mpanza, MM 2023, 'The PGM tailing remedy for potential economic end-use ', in B Abbasi, J Parshley, A Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2023: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth,

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Most tailings materials although reprocessed for economical gain, continue to cause pollution. The tailings material continues to cause acidic rock drainage impacting catchments and the river systems. Furthermore, tailings material contaminates underlying and adjacent land with the heavy metals and dust. This further affects roads and other structures impacting the community living in proximity to around the tailing’s storage facilities. Tailings materials also cause land degradation making it unproductive. Many of the mining companies that created the dumps have closed and the cleaning-up responsibility now lies with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) which lacks the financial capacity to undertake clean-up. The clean-up cost for all the mine dumps using conventional methods has been estimated by the United Nations as USD 60 billion. This study examines the feasibility of using tailings material to manufacture construction bricks and tiles, to mitigate the issue of continuous pollution. This study hopes to reduce the pollution caused by tailings material on river systems, land, and improve the health and well-being of the community’s achieving rehabilitation of mines and environment. This study examines the feasibility of the platinum group metals (PGMs) tailings material rehabilitation in the Rustenburg area of South Africa. The PGM tailings material was analysed using the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to uncover the chemical composition. The metallurgical test work was conducted to maximize value recovery from the platinum group metals (PGMs) tailings. Furthermore, a design mix was established and ultimately engineering applications were undertaken to test for the viability of the manufacturing construction bricks and tiles using the PGM tailings materials. This study further states that the sale of bricks would create a circular economy and empower surrounding communities through entrepreneurship.

Keywords: PGMs, Tailings, Bricks, Economic, Environmental

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