Concluding Remarks

This chapter covered two elements that appear in the title -recovery and utilisation - of valuable materials from AMD. The AMD with its low pH (between 2 and 4) and high concentrations of hazardous and toxic elements and sulphate contents is considered as a very serious global environmental problem. For sustainability, the focus when dealing with AMD should be to prevent, minimise, reuse, and recycle. However, at present, there is no general solution to the problem of AMD, either through prevention or remediation. Nevertheless, the chapter has provided a detailed analysis of processes used for the recovery of valuable resources such as water, metals, pigments, and sulphuric acid from AMD. In addition, the utilisation of waste materials generated during the treatment of AMD such as AMD sludge in the manufacture of several products or use in processes, for example, has also been discussed. Actually, sustainable resource recovery and/ or utilisation is the key to manage the overburden of various waste entities of mining practices. More specifically, the chapter has clearly shown that a major water contamination problem and environmental hazard can be transformed into valuable resources which can meet the needs of a range of users, safely and reliably.

It is clear from the chapter that the recovery processes should not only target a specific material alone present in AMD, but should holistically consider all available valuable resources as well either concomitantly or separately. For example, metals, water, acid, pigments and sludge and other minor resources need to be recovered and valorised in order to make the process economically viable and resource efficient. In conclusion, the chapter has shown that the resource recovery and utilisation is a non-debatable holistic approach to environmental sustainability and AMD pollution reduction. More specifically, the chapter has clearly shown that the 3Rs - Reuse, Recycle, Recovery - are the most important strategies for dealing with AMD, and these are depicted in Figure 9.18. Reuse in the context of this chapter refers to the use or application of a significant component of the AMD such as water for a specific purpose after undergoing some treatment. Recycling is defined as the conversion of the entire waste such as AMD sludge into a

new valuable product or application. Recovery on the other hand refers to the extraction of valuable resources or ingredients from the AMD with the aid of processing and/or reprocessing techniques.


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