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Towards Sustainable Iron Ore Tailings Management: Exploiting Versatile Reuse Opportunities for Environmental and Economic Benefits
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  • Gummadivalli Shiva Kumar,
  • Aparna Sharma,
  • Durga Prasad Tripathi,
  • Arvind Kumar Nema
Gummadivalli Shiva Kumar
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Aparna Sharma
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology
Durga Prasad Tripathi
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology
Arvind Kumar Nema
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology


Mining and refining of iron ore result in prodigious quantities of Iron Ore Tailings (IOTs), necessitating urgent adoption of sustainable management practices. Depleted iron ore reserves underscore the untapped value of IOTs' iron content. To minimize waste generation and optimize resource utilization, efficient extraction of iron content from ores is imperative. Accurate identification of ore seams during or before mining mitigates gangue and waste accumulation, resulting in cost savings in material processing, refining, transportation, and disposal. Recycling IOTs from older processing lines into newer, more efficient ones presents a promising avenue for sustainable resource utilization. Available options for IOT reuse span various domains. IOTs serve as building materials (bricks, cement, concrete), providing cost-effective alternatives. Road construction, embankments, and structural fills utilize IOTs as construction materials. Additionally, IOTs demonstrate versatility in manufacturing processes, including ceramics, foam glass, and geopolymer-based materials. Applications in paints, pigments, slow-release fertilizers, and microcrystalline glass further expand the scope of IOT utilization. This study highlights the urgency of IOT reuse/recycling for environmental and economic reasons. It underscores the wealth of available reuse options, emphasizing recycling's pivotal role in sustainable resource management. Examination of these potential applications charts the course toward environmentally conscious and economically viable management of IOTs.  Article in AGU23 Website
01 May 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
10 May 2024Published in ESS Open Archive