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Valorization of Finnish mining tailings for use in the ceramics industry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-54
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The present study valorized Finnish mining tailings waste to identify opportunities for the use of ceramics technologies. On the basis of their mineralogical and chemical contents, the five selected tailings wastes represented felsic mining tailings (FMT) rich in quartz and alkali feldspars, mining tailings dominated by Mg- and Fe-bearing minerals (MgFeMT), and mining tailings rich in carbonate minerals (CMT). Preliminary pilot studies indicated that the FMT materials are potential secondary raw materials for mullite-type ceramics. An Al additive was needed, since the Al2O3 content of the studied tailings was too low for mullitization. In addition, carbonate-bearing tailings with Ca silicates can be applicable for chemically bonded phosphate ceramic (CBPC) synthesis. Based on a literature review, FMT are viable source materials for the production of geopolymers, but a high initial Si:Al ratio (in quartz-rich FMT) may lead to partial geopolymerization. Preliminary results from the geopolymerization of pre-heated phlogopite mica mixed with metakaolin gave promising findings, with the formation of a geopolymer having good compressive strength. The findings support the viability of MgFeMT materials rich in phlogopite mica for the production of alkali-activated ceramics.