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CIRCULAR ECONOMY: GEOPOLYMER CEMENT GENERATED FROM COPPER MINE TAILINGS

Abstract

Mining activities generate waste that can impact the environment and human health. In Peru, the mining industry is an important contributor to the country's economic growth, but it also generates a considerable amount of waste. 

This study investigates the geopolymerization of mine tailings from an open-pit copper mine in Cajamarca, located in northern Peru, as a sustainable solution for waste management. A pretreatment was required to remove sulfur from the tailings, which was performed by flotation using a Z6 Xanthate collector and a neutral pH MIBC frother. 

The results demonstrate that mine tailings can be desulfurized and geopolymerized with an optimum composition of a SiO2/Al2O3 ratio of 1, a SiO2/Na2O ratio of 4 and an alkaline solution concentration of 10 M. The geopolymer exhibits good flow behavior and an average compressive strength of 8.81 MPa, making it suitable for various environmentally friendly applications in the mining industry. 

This study presents a sustainable solution for the use of mine tailings, which can significantly reduce waste while providing an alternative to traditional construction materials.

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