The main economic, technological and environmental challenges of small mining include reducing high investment costs, reducing generation of waste and large tailings, identifying and addressing environmental impacts, and improving flexibility, automation and safety of operations. However, at the moment, there is no quick-fix available to reduce the environmental impact from mines, and it is neither realistic to expect production solutions very distant from today’s technologies. Considering that the present mining technology is based on rock blasting and mobile mining equipment for loading and transportation, the major challenge is to generate a new sustainable systemic solution that affects positively the relevant mining value chain.
SLIM aims to develop a cost-effective and sustainable selective low impact mining solution based on non-linear rock mass fragmentation by blasting models, airborne particulate matter, vibration affections and nitrate leaching mitigation actions for exploitation of small mineral deposits (including those with chemically complex ore-forming phases) through a new generation of explosives and an advanced automatic blast design software based on improved rock mass characterisation and fragmentation models for optimum fragmentation and minimum rock damage and far-field vibrations.
SLIM consortium is led by Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in Spain. Research institutions involved are Luleå tekniska universitet in Sweden, Montanuniversität Leoben and Technische Universität Graz in Austria. Validators in relevant environments are MAXAMCORP International SL, Minera de Orgiva SL and Benito Arnó e Hijos S.A.U. in Spain, and 3GSM and VA Erzberg GmbH in Austria.
Bureau de Recherches Gélogiques et Minières in France, (FR), Investornet Gate2Growth APS in Denmark, MINPOL GmbH in Austria and ZABALA Innovation Consulting SA in Spain are responsible for environmental and economic assessments, communication and dissemination activities and social awareness actions.
Project duration: November 2016 – October 2020.