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Environment-friendly Processing Technologies of Mine Tailings: Research on the Characteristics of Mine Tailings when Developing of Deep Sea Mineral Resources
선광잔류물의 친환경적 처리 기술: 심해저광물자원개발시 발생하는 선광잔류물 특성 연구
Econ. Environ. Geol. 2020 Dec;53(6):781-92
Published online December 31, 2020;
Copyright © 2020 the Korean society of economic and environmental gelology.

Inkyeong Moon, Chanmin Yoo* and Jonguk Kim
문인경 · 유찬민* · 김종욱

Deep–sea and Seabed Mineral Resources Research Center, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, 49111
한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터
Received October 12, 2020; Revised December 18, 2020; Accepted December 21, 2020.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Mine tailings, which are inevitably formed by the development of manganese nodules, manganese crusts, and hydrothermal seafloor deposits, have attracted attention because of their quantity and potential toxicity. However, there is a lack of data on the quantity of mine tailings being generated, their physicochemical properties, and their effects as environmental hazards and on marine ecosystems in general. The importance of treating mine tailings in an environmentally friendly manner has been recognized recently and related reduction/treatment methods are being considered. In the case of deep-sea mineral resource development, if mine tailings cannot be treated aboard a ship, the issue becomes one of the cost of transporting them to land and solving the problem of environmental pollution there. Therefore, the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology conducted research on the harmfulness of mine tailings, their effect on marine ecosystem, the diffusion model of contaminated particles, and candidate purification treatment technologies based on five representative controlling factors: 1) effects of pollution /on the environment, 2) effects of environmental/ biological hazards, 3) diffusion of particles, 4) mineral dressings, and 5) reducing/processing mine tailings. The results of this study can provide a basis for minimizing environmental problems by providing scientific evidences of the environmental effects of mine tailings. In addition, it is also expected that these results could be applied to the treatment of pollutants of different origins and at land-based mining waste sites.
Keywords : mine tailings, deep-sea mineral resource development, environment-friendly development, marine ecosystem, hydrothermal deposits


February 2021, 54 (1)