The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global mining waste management market for 2016-2020. The report categorizes the market into two segments on the basis of different types of waste generated. These are waste rock and tailings of which the waste rock consisted of approximately 78% of the market in 2015.
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Technavio energy analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global mining waste management market:
- Focus on reduction of carbon emissions
- Introduction of stringent environmental laws
- Increased impact of public perception
Focus on reduction of carbon emissions
One of the most debated topics in the current economic scenario is the effect of the rapid industrial development. On deeper analysis of the facts, it can be established that one of the largest culprits behind environmental damage is the release of carbon dioxide from mining operations. “The new-age mining waste management projects direct a significant share of their efforts toward the reduction of carbon dioxide released from site operations,” says Thanikachalam Chandrasekaran, a lead analyst at Technavio for oil and gas research.
The largest source of carbon dioxide from mining operations is the energy generated for the extraction of minerals from the ores. The process wherein the company extracts and refines the minerals into commercially usable quantities involves large amounts of energy. The use of fossil fuels in the generation of this energy releases huge volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Many innovations are cropping up in the mining waste management market, which aim at reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from mining operations. The reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from mining operations can be achieved through the implementation of new-age mining waste management programs which involve the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide. One such procedure involves the bubbling of exhaust streams through the mine wastewater resources that contain significant volumes of the mineral brucite. This particular process can facilitate the capture of almost 360 kilotons of carbon dioxide per annum at one mining site.
Introduction of stringent environmental laws
The mining sector is expected to see vast regulatory changes to help it align with environmental objectives. There are significant variations in the level of strictness across nations with respect to the regulatory scenario of the current mining industry. Some of the most stringent laws are being implemented in developed economies such as Canada, the US, Brazil, Australia, and Europe. These countries are the forerunners in the enforcement of regulations aimed at mitigating the environmental damage from mining operations.
One of the most important parameters in the development of environmental regulations of any mining operation pertain to the usage of water resources at the site. Mining operations require large quantities of water and they end up polluting large volumes of water. The disposal and run-off of these water sources causes environmental pollution. Therefore, regulations regarding the tailings dam are one of the most crucial aspects of mining in the modern world.
“Regulations and directives are expected to become even more strict in the future with the environment protection agenda ranking very high on a majority of international programs. The mining waste management industry is expected to gain significantly from these developments,” says Thanikachalam.
Increased impact of public perception
The strength of public opinion in ensuring commercial success cannot be disparaged. The importance of public reaction to any action of the mining company is expected to drive the mining waste management market in the forecast period.
In the mining domain, the failure of a particular machinery or large-scale damage to the surrounding natural habitats entails significant expenses. The largest intangible expense, which the company has to pay, is in terms of loss of public trust in the enterprise. The recent events in the Brazilian iron ore mines jointly owned by BHP Billiton show us how companies can lose millions of dollars in the aftermath of a major mine disaster.
Mining companies are taking measures to reduce risks and sustain commercial success. Technavio expects to see higher spending in the implementation of new-age mining waste management technologies and projects. This will lead to a significant increase in projects allocated to third-party mining waste management vendors. Multiple small and medium scale mine operators may prefer outsourcing waste management rather than developing in-house waste management resources as it involves significant resource allocation.
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