Mine Tailings Geopolymers as a Waste Management Solution for A More Sustainable Habitat


The demand for low environmental impact of materials in our habitat is one of the current societal challenges. Along with other solutions of waste valorisation, alkali activation as geopolymers can be one possible solution of waste valorisation because they may allow, for instance, an alternative solution for cement-based materials in some applications and it is one contribution for circular economy. This work has focused on the development and processing of geopolymers that incorporates as a fine aggregate a high-sulfidic mining waste (mine tailing), a difficult waste to process. Rheology analysis was applied as an important step to understand not only the geopolymers behaviour but also its transition from the fresh to the hardened state. The effect of precursor binder type (metakaolin or blast furnace slag), of mine tailing content and also the effect of temperature and curing conditions of different formulations were studied in this solution. It was possible to conclude that although this particular mine tailing is not a geopolymer binder precursor, it may be incorporated as an alternative fine aggregate in construction products. Furthermore, rheology could be used to follow up the geopolymer alkali-activation process and even to setup proper curing conditions and components contents in order to optimize the final mechanical strength of this material as a waste management solution. The final properties of these geopolymers compositions were adequate and after 28 days of curing, these geopolymers exhibit significant chemical resistance under severe test conditions.



subject category

Science & Technology - Other Topics; Environmental Sciences & Ecology


Paiva, H; Yliniemi, J; Illikainen, M; Rocha, F; Ferreira, VM

our authors


This work was carried out under the auspices of the GEOSULF ERA-MIN project, supported by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes), Portuguese National Funding Agency for Science, Research and Technology (FCT) and the National Centre for Research and Development of Poland (NCBR), whom the authors wish to acknowledge.

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