Understanding the mineral potential for critical raw materials in old mine waste dumps and tailings

Mineral potencial for critical raw materials

Today, numerous mining districts for base metals in central Europe are, either mined out, the mines, which are mainly of medieval age, are not of economic interest anymore or geological knowledge is outdated. However, some of remnants of historical mining still have high ore grades in their waste. Preliminary results indicate an economic potential for critical raw materials like Ge, Ga and others. Thus, we want to shed light on the content and mobility not only of the main commodities like Cu, Pb and Zn but also include “high-tech metals” or potentially toxic elements. Besides the solid waste, mine waters also seem promising in terms of extracting heat and elements. Our study will help to update the information about the amount of domestic georesources. Furthermore, a potential reuse of mine waste would also have a positive ecological value for society and nature regarding sustainability and circular economy.