Mineral Waste Resources of Canada

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 798, 1978

R.K. Ceilings, Head, Non-Metallic and Waste Minerals Section, Industrial Mineral Laboratory, CANMET, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Ottawa, (Mineral Research Program, Processing Contribution No. 99)

The annual production of mineral and mineral-based wastes in Canada is conservatively estimated to be 400 million tons. Over 90 per cent of this amount is waste rock or mill tailings from the mining and mineral processing industry. The remainder are slags and ashes from the metallurgical industry, and sludges from the chemical industry. Because of impurity content, remote location, or both, most wastes have limited usefulness and, indeed, are a liability in that they must be transported to waste disposal sites and contained therein. Certain mineral wastes do, however, have potential value. Some contain small percentages of metals that may be economically recoverable with price increases; others consist of mineral material that may be used for such purposes as road base, construction aggregate, railroad ballast, and in the manufacture of bricks or blocks. Increased interest has been shown in mineral wastes in recent years.This paper reviews the types of mineral wastes available in Canada, briefly describes a number that have potential value, and notes possible uses and related research by CANMET and other organizations.
Keywords: Environmental control, Industrial minerals, Mineral wastes, Waste resources, Tailings, Slag, Ash, Sludge.