The Future of Green Mining
Innovative solutions for a sustainable mining
With today’s crescent concern about issues such as economic growth and sustainability, various industries are coming under scrutiny for their impact on the environment.
The mining industry is one of those. Even though they provide most of the materials and resources that are necessary to maintaining our way of life, mining is also commonly associated with heavy environmental impacts. It is important for companies in the sector to innovate and improve efficiency in order to change the perception of the industry and cultivate positive impacts on society.
New Steel is a technology company with a new vision as laid out by CEO Ivan Montenegro: ‘Everybody’s asking how to make mining more sustainable. New Steel offers an environmentally friendly alternative, that can improve efficiency and reduce risks. Our vision is to leave a positive, historical footprint and lead the change.’
In its pursuit of this vision, New Steel has refined a dry beneficiation process, named FDMS (Fines Dry Magnetic Separation), in order to allow the recovery of very fine particles of iron ore through magnetic separation without the use of water.
Usually this would not be possible, as water and chemicals have previously been a key component in the process of separating valuable mined minerals from contaminants. As a result, the construction of dams to prevent waste tailings being washed away has been the norm within the industry. As well as having a natural impact on local ecosystems, dams’ collapses have occurred in different parts of the globe, causing severe damage and eroding trust in the institutions involved.
The dry process pioneered by New Steel drastically reduces their environmental footprint through the conservation of water, rendering dams unnecessary and having the simultaneous effect of increasing process yield, allowing them to lead the way in innovation.
‘In order to be a sustainable process,’ says Mauro Yamamoto, New Steel’s Chief Technology Officer, ‘We believe that it’s important to take the maximum advantage of this iron ore’s dry beneficiation process. For example, by obtaining tailings with low iron content, we can put this waste material to use in various applications across diverse industries – mainly in the construction, ceramic and glass industries as well as in the cement industry.’
With the global iron ore market remaining as vital as ever, almost doubling over the last two decades from 1 to 2 billion tonnes being produced annually, the importance of innovation cannot be understated.
As a result, New Steel continuously looks to scale up their technology, allowing them to maintain the quality of their product while increasing capacity and reducing impact on the environment. Their processing technique has been patented in 59 countries and New Steel’s innovative approach to the problems that face the industry looks to continue with the company itself embracing a ‘Green’ approach to mining.