Surface Mining


Sub-project 3:

Characterization of trace elements content of enrichment zones in tailings/heaps and selective mining of these zones

May 1st 2013 – September 30th 2017
Responsible professor and other scientist:
Students on the project:
  • Dulamjav Unursaikhan (Studienarbeit 2017)
    - Zeitlich und räumlich aufgelöste Analyse ausgewählter Stoffströme im Grubenfeld der Reichen Zeche
  • Oliver Schmalfuß (Diplomarbeit 2017)
    - Betrachtung der Wasser- und Stoffbewegung im Grubenfeld Reiche Zeche – Abbildung eines Stoffstromnetzwerkes zur Gewinnung von Wertstoffen
Aim of sub-project:
After longer exposure times, heaps and tailings of materials from ore mining are affected by (bio-) geochemical reorganization processes. Thus, zones of accumulation are caused, which in many cases are marked by the development of secondary mineral phases containing Fe.
The objective of the sub-project is the characterization of accumulation zones in terms of the trace element content. Special attention is directed to the elements Indium and Germanium, which are the focus of the Krüger Research School.
Based on the characterization of the accumulation zones, possibilities for selective mining will be worked out. With this technological procedure, the amount of heap/tailing material to be treated can be minimized.
Furthermore, the objective of the sub-project is the analysis of waters in Central German reclamation areas (of ore and lignite mining) concerning their contents of trace elements (especially In, Ge). The treatment of these waters is already set for decades (environmental requirements). Thus, a by-production by means of relevant, practicable enrichment steps is desirable and, under certain circumstances, economically advantageous.
Ongoing work and results:

The sub-project is still in progress and working on the following tasks:

  • Sub-task A) Characterization of enrichment zones in tailings/heaps concerning trace element contents
  • Sub-task B) Possibilities for selective extraction/mining of enrichment zones
  • Sub-task C) On-site measurements of the element distribution in relevant primary ore deposits
  • Sub-task D) Characterization of the content of strategic elements (e.g. In, Ge) in German mine waters
Publications from sub-project:
  • Ussath M., Grimmer M., Hoth N., Wendler C., Haubrich F., Kelm U. (2016): Investigations on heap leaching material and potential recovery of strategic elements. Presentation and Proceedings IMWA 2016, Leipzig. ISBN: 978-3-86012-533-5
  • Günther J., Ussath M., Hoth N. (2006): Specific retention of copper and strategic elements from Chilean mine water with zeolithes and peat-based sorption media. Presentation and Proceedings IMWA 2016, Leipzig. ISBN: 978-3-86012-533-5
  • Ussath M., Wendler C., Hoth N.,  Kelm U., Haubrich F., Hache M., Heide G., Grimmer M. & Drebenstedt C. (2015): Mobility of Strategic Elements in Chilean Tailings in the Context of Secondary Mining Processes, Proceedings IMWA Annual Conference 2015.
  • Hoth N., Wendler C., Kassahun A., Ussath M. & Drebenstedt C. (2015): Rückgewinnung wirtschaftsstrategischer Elemente aus Bergbauwässern - Randbedingungen und Herausforderungen. In Paul M. "Sanierte Bergbaustandorte im Spannungsfeld zwischen Nachsorge und Nachnutzung." Proceedings Tagung WISSYM, 227-235, ISBN: 978-3-00-049882-4
Student theses related to sub-project:
  • Master Thesis Juliane Günther (2016): Rückhalt von Wertelementen an Barrierematerialien im Abstrom von Tailings des chilenischen Kupferbergbaus - Verminderung des Umwelteinflusses und Rückgewinnungspotential.
  • Studienarbeit Tobias Krichler (2015): Hydrogeochemische Charakterisierung von im Tiefbau gewonnenen und verkippten Materialien
  • Diplomarbeit Tobias Krichler (2016): Selektive Gewinnung chilenischer Tailingsmaterialien – Konzept zum Einsatz von Großgerätetechnologie im Vergleich zu anderen Verfahren
Possible additional student projects:
On demand.
­Literature cited:
  • Dold, B. & Fontbote, L. 2001. Element cycling and secondary mineralogy in porphyry copper tailings as a function of climate, primary mineralogy, and mineral processing. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 74 (1-3): 3-55.
  • Graupner, T., Kassahun, A., Rammlmair, D., Meima, J.A., Kock, D., Furche, M., Fiege, A., Schippers A., Melcher, F. 2007. Formation of sequences of cemented layers and hardpans within sulfide-bearing mine tailings (mine district Freiberg, Germany). Appl. Geochem. 22(11): 2486-2508.
  • Hoth, N., Rammlmair, D., Gerth. J. & Häfner, F. 2008. Leitfaden Natürliche Schadstoffminderungsprozesse an großräumigen Bergbaukippen/-halden und Flussauensedimenten. Empfehlungen zur Untersuchung und Bewertung der natürlichen Quelltermminimierung. KORA Themenverbund 6: Bergbau und Sedimente. Institut für Bohrtechnik und Fluidbergbau, TU Bergakademie Freiberg. ISBN-13 978-3-89746-098-X.