RDI projects


Project Information

NameSecondary waste streams, added value and productization
ContactPetri Juntunen
DescriptionRequirements for environmental management in mining have increased together with increasing demand of mined commodities. The mining industry has operated for a long time according to the principle where only a small fraction of the large amount of quarried and processed rock material ends up as commodity. Even today, up to 96% of the processed ore ends up in large impoundments as extractive waste i.e. mine tailings. This mode of operation is inefficient in terms of energy and material efficiency, environmental protection, and the economy.The SETELIT project investigates utilization of mine tailings as a cement-free paste backfill material cured with a carbon neutral method in the mining area, and outside the mine sites as a material substituting concrete. The project promotes the circular and energy economies and reduces the environmental risks and landscape impacts created by mining operations. Developed new products and methods can boost the business activities and competitiveness of companies. In addition to these, the project also promotes digitalization.The objectives of the project are (i) To develop a low-carbon, mine tailings based product similar to concrete, and to create guidelines for cancelling the end-of-waste status and for productizing mine tailings-based products; (ii) To promote research services related to cement-free paste backfill materials cured with carbon-neutral methods and to enhance infrastructure needed to carry out high quality Flow Loop tests; (iii) To develop a digital recipe tool for cement-free mine tailings-based products and paste backfill materials.Utilization of tailings outside mine sites requires a) carrying out the cancellation of the mine tailings waste status and b) a productization process. The guide and demonstration of these tasks will be implemented in the SETELIT project. In addition, since cement production is known to cause 5–8 % of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, it is recommended to implement the curing or binding of tailings, whenever possible, without cement. Binders suitable to replace cement are various slags, ashes, bioplastic and strong alkali solutions used in alkali-activation and geopolymerization techniques. These methods will be tested during the product design phase with the selected tailings.When utilizing mine tailings as a cured paste backfill material in underground mines, it is essential to ensure the technical and environmental characteristics of the mixture (paste) as well as smooth transportation through the pipeline to the filling site. The Flow Loop testing method created in the ERDF Kove-Pro project is digitalized and optimized in the SETELIT project. The rheological properties of pastes are measured by Flow Loop tests already at the first stage of recipe design. Using the Flow Loop method, new types of cement-free cured paste backfill recipes are developed to reduce the mine's carbon footprint and the amount of extractive wastes.All recipes generated during the project, as well as characterization results of starting materials and test pieces, will be compiled in a digital recipe library. This library helps to preserve and interpret results in a new way using the self-organizing map method (SOM). The goal is to
develop a system to search for recipes that support carbon neutrality and circular economy for paste backfill solutions and other mine tailings-based applications. The SETELIT project is based on cooperation between Savonia University of Applied Sciences and Geological Survey of Finland (GTK). Savonia's expertise in concrete engineering, 3D printing, and water engineering is combined with GTK's expertise in geochemistry, mineralogy, X-ray tomography, 3D printing of geomaterials, the circular economy and environmental impact management of the mining industry.
PartnersHankkeen päätoteuttajana toimii GTK.
Hankkeen osatoteuttajana toimii Savonia AMK Oy

Hankkeen osarahoittajia Agnico Eagle Oy, Yara Finland Oy, LKAB Minerals Oy, Sika Finland Oy, Fatec Oy, Fescon Oy, Sibelco Oy ja ALVA Oy.
Funded byEAKR FR 40% 2021-27 palkkojen yksikkökust.malli