Cyprus can benefit from previous mining activity
Demetrios Constantinides, a board member of the Cypriot mining business Venus Minerals and an economic geologist, stated earlier this week that Cyprus can employ contemporary methods to extract essential minerals from mine tailings.
Tailings are the materials left behind after separating the profitable component of a mineral ore from the uneconomic portion of the ore.
“New technology can enable economic recovery of important metals from mining waste created decades ago, both improving resource efficiency and contributing to CO2 reduction and also facilitating the rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites across the island,” Constantinides said.
Cyprus, according to Constantinides, has a mining history dating back at least 5,000 years, yielding more than $10 billion in today's values.
Furthermore, the island has a long history of aggregate manufacturing, with 25 quarries noted for high-quality diabase, limestone, and other mineral products.
“As a result, the island has been left with many waste sites, presenting us with an opportunity for a holistic restoration and recovery,” the geologist stated.
"Among other advantages, a holistic approach can contribute to the recovery of metals and useful materials from mine tailings and waste, which could help meet increased demand, reuse of valuable resources, raise the value of otherwise unused materials, eliminate environmental hazards, and reclaim land," he added.
According to the Geological Survey Department, at least 11 regions have been identified where cutting-edge technology solutions and equipment could help with metal economic recovery and rehabilitation to modern verified standards.
Constantinides noted that Venus Mineral's next aim is "anthropogenic" resources, stating that switching from primary to secondary metals will result in CO2 savings ranging from 29 to 96 percent while also improving resource efficiency.
According to Constantinides, Venus Minerals wants to recover rich metals from mining waste accumulated during the nineteenth century at the company's Magellan project, which includes sites at Kokkinoyia, Klirou, and the New Sha regions in the north-eastern foothills of Troodos.
He stated that the Kokkinoyia dumps alone contain at least 300,000 tonnes of material, and that testing have revealed that their average composition is similar to the higher-grade copper found at the Apliki mine.
"This substance might be processed locally or securely transported to Apliki for processing," Constantinides explained.
Furthermore, according to studies conducted in 2003, it is anticipated that 7 million tonnes of material have collected in tailing ponds and rubbish landfills in the Mavrovouni area.
“Today it is not sufficient or acceptable to extract only one particular and perhaps critical element that is present as a minor metal, and which has low concentration, or in a complex mixture from these sites,” Constantinides said.
“Instead we can now aim to recover other target metals and materials which can be applied to a much wider range of uses,” he added.
Furthermore, the Venus Minerals board member stated that if practicable, these resources should be assessed to ascertain their composition.
"Clearing historical mining waste can also free and clean land that can be used for recreational and outdoor activities, industrial, or urban redevelopment including commercial activities," he said, noting that the Terra Banensium site of Mitsero-Agrokipia is one area where all of the above could be realised.
“Venus Minerals is prepared to work with all parties involved, with the aim of cleaning up as many abandoned mines as possible, through the recovery of metals and other useful materials, reclaiming otherwise lost land that could be used for other purposes,” Constantinides concluded.
By fLEXI tEAM