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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253

Abstract

SINKALA, T.. Integrated phytomining and ethanol production in the Zambian Copperbelt to minimize mine decontamination costs and environmental and social impacts: a review. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2018, vol.118, n.8, pp.815-824. ISSN 2411-9717.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-9717/2018/v118n8a4.

The mining industry in the Zambian Copperbelt has polluted the environment with heavy metals, the effects of which are a source of concern to host communities. It is globally known that remediation of polluted mine environments is expensive, and can be as high as US$48 000 or more per hectare, depending on the severity of contamination, using traditional physical and chemical approaches. These methods also often leave significant liabilities for host communities. This paper reviews available opportunities for mining companies in the Zambian Copperbelt to use integrated phytomining and production of ethanol, and its co-products, to minimize the costs for remediating polluted mine environments. The benefits of using this approach are manifold and include additional income streams from extracted metals and ethanol, creation of additional jobs for mine host communities, assured livelihoods for mine host communities even beyond mine closure, reclaimed land for food production and other activities, and improved corporate image for mining companies.

Keywords : phytoremediation; rehabilitation costs; ethanol production.

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