There are rare native copper deposits but abundant copper tailings in China. According to incomplete statistics, hundreds of millions of tons of copper tailings are discharged every year in China, which are increasing year by year. Copper tailings include little copper, silver, zinc, lead ore, but a large number of silica-aluminate tailings, such as calcite, plagioclase and diopside.
Generally, complex copper ore composition and outdated mineral processing technology and equipment lead to the different copper content in copper tailings. The large number of copper tailings that are not fully utilized not only occupy areas, but also cause serious environmental pollution. Therefore, it is necessary for economic benefit and environmental protection to study the secondary utilization of copper tailings and develop circular economy.
The characteristics of copper tailings composition in China are the high grade of copper, fine grain size, various types and complicated compositions. Besides, they also include a large number of copper oxides and aluminosilicate, which is suitable to produce new building materials. The general direction of the comprehensive utilization of copper tailings is to further utilize copper tailings resources and reduce environmental pollution. Here are four methods to achieve comprehensive utilization of copper tailings: 1. On the basis of comprehensive analysis of copper tailings, separating valuable copper tailings to recycle useful components. 2. Separating the copper tailings to produce new functional materials. 3. Using copper tailings to make building materials. 4. Refilling mines with valueless copper tailings for recovering original topography.
At present, China is lack of metal resources, so national economic development still depends on external resources greatly. Therefore, it is necessary for us to make comprehensive utilization of copper tailings.
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