Extractive industries represent the first stage of our global cycles of production and consumption. Environmental legacies associated with mining and mineral processing to all environmental compartments (air, soil, water) are extensive, long-lived, and in some cases, chronic. With global consumption set to rise above a growing global population, our thirst for raw materials will continue. As such, integrated approaches to legacy waste management are required that go beyond end-of-pipe treatment to encompass the multifaceted values associated with mineral-rich wastes. This chapter evaluates real-world examples of such benefits at sites associated with former mining, steel-making, and metal-processing and aims to place legacy waste site management within a circular economy framework. These potential benefits include resource recovery (metals and minerals, aggregates, heat, power), carbon storage (through weathering of oxide and silicate phases), ecosystem enhancement (e.g., diverse flora and fauna), and societal benefits (recreational space, educational opportunities, cultural and archaeological significance).
Mayes, W. M., Hull, S. L., & Gomes, H. I. (2021). From linear economy legacies to circular economy resources: Maximising the multifaceted values of legacy mineral wastes. In A. Stefanakis, & I. Nikolaou (Eds.), Circular Economy and Sustainability Volume 1: Management and Policy (409-431). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-819817-9.00009-0