Assessment of the Possible Reuse of Extractive Waste Coming from Abandoned Mine Sites: Case Study in Gorno, Italy

Neha Mehta, Giovanna Antonella Dino*, Iride Passarella, Franco Ajmone-Marsan, Piergiorgio Rossetti, Domenico Antonio De Luca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Supply of resources, a growing population, and environmental pollution are some of the main challenges facing the contemporary world. The rapid development of mining activities has produced huge amounts of waste. This waste, found in abandoned mine sites, provides the potential opportunity of extracting raw material. The current study, therefore, focuses on testing the validation of a shared methodology to recover extractive waste from abandoned mines, and applies this methodology to a case study in Gorno, northwest Italy. The methods focused on: (1) analyzing the impact of tailings and fine fraction of waste rock (<2 mm) on plants (Cress - Lepidium Sativum) to assess usability of both as soil additive, and (2) recovering raw materials from tailings and coarse fraction (>2 mm) of waste rock, by means of dressing methods like wet shaking table and froth flotation. The results indicated that the fine fraction of waste rock and tailings did not have detrimental effects on seed germination; however, there was marked decrease in plant growth. As for the recovery of raw materials, the coarse waste rock samples, crushed to <0.5 mm, produced a recovery of Cd, Ga, and Zn—as much as 66%, 56%, and 64%, respectively—using the wet shaking table. The same samples when crushed to 0.063–0.16 mm and used for froth flotation produced a recovery of Cd, Ga, and Zn of up to 61%, 72%, and 47%, respectively. The flotation experiment on tailings showed a recovery of Cd, Ga and Zn at pH 7 of 33%, 6% and 29% respectively. The present investigation highlights the methodologies used for extracting raw materials from extractive waste.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages22
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2020


  • Circular economy
  • Resource supply
  • Extractive waste
  • Raw materials
  • Abandoned mines
  • Triassic western southern Alps (Italy)


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