Feasibility study on the utilization of coal mining waste for Portland clinker production


CMWs (coal mine wastes) as the waste products of coal exploitation or washing plants are a source of pollution that generates waste management problems, especially those that are very old and without a known owner. CMW chemical composition indicates that it contains SiO2-Al2O3-Fe2O3 in such percentages that it can be used in the production of Portland cement clinker, which can lead to potential savings in clinker production, not only in raw material but also in fuels if the CMW has a minimum calorific value and has not suffered self-combustion. After characterization of different CMWs from mining sites located in the north of Spain, six types of CMW have been selected and different raw meal formulations have been designed by software, maximizing the substitution rate of CMW and ensuring a correct raw meal chemical parameters. Along with a reference raw meal, all CMW clinkers were sintered, ground with gypsum, and tested determining the setting time, compressive strength, and soundness. The results of the physico-mechanical tests show that the mechanical performance of the CMW cements was consistent with the European requirements for a CEM Type I cement. CMW, especially those with a residual energetic content, can be utilized in clinker raw meal due to its availability in large quantities at low cost with the further significant benefits for waste management and environmental practices in mining and in cement production processes.

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The authors wish to express their gratitude to Cementos Alfa, S.A., a J. Landa for their contribution.

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Correspondence to Beatriz Malagón.

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Malagón, B., Fernández, G., De Luis, J.M. et al. Feasibility study on the utilization of coal mining waste for Portland clinker production. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 21–32 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-05150-w

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  • Mining waste
  • Alternative resource
  • Greenhouse emissions
  • Sustainable cement
  • Clinker production