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ArticleName Change in mineral resource supplies in production of heavy nonferrous metals in terms of copper and nickel
DOI 10.17580/gzh.2024.03.01
ArticleAuthor Krupnov L. V., Midyukov D. O., Datsiev M. S., Ilin V. B.

NorNickel’s Polar Division, Norilsk, Russia

L. V. Krupnov, Chief Metallurgist–Management Head, Department of Science and Technology, Candidate of Engineering Science,
D. O. Midyukov, Chief Manager, Technology Planning and Control Management
M. S. Datsiev, Director, Department of Science and Technology Directorate
V. B. Ilin, Deputy Director, Center for Geological Works—Head of Industrial Geology Department


The article focuses on evaluation of global mineral resources available for production of primary heavy nonferrous metals, in particular, copper and nickel. It is pointed at depletion of high-grade ore reserves that occur at comparatively shallow depths, which leads to the decreased content of useful components in the reserves, to the increased depth of mining and, as a consequence, to the elevation of capital and operating costs. This situation conditions attrition of laid-down capital pay-off, which, in its turn, brings a decrease in investment in development of new and operating mineral fields. A case-study of some mineral deposits in Russia and abroad demonstratively proves a trend of decrease in copper and nickel contents in mineral resources and mineral reserves, as well as a tendency of growth of mining depth at high-grade ore bodies. One of the possible ways of replenishment of mineral resource supplies is considered to be recycling, i.e. exploitation of operating mine waste accumulated currently at a great amount. It is shown that this allows extra volume of metal production and ensu res reduction in volume of ash and tailings storages, which is environmentally beneficial. The technology of mine waste processing by flotation enables using the resultant products in the main circuits in pyrometallurgy. The case-studies of recycling of processing and metallurgical waste at the Polar Division of NorNickel are described. The actual economic effect of these technologies is demonstrated.

keywords Production of primary heavy nonferrous metals, mineral resource supplies, mineral reserves, integrated use, recycling

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