Betolar, a Finnish material technology company that offers sustainable and low-carbon concrete production, and concrete company JA-KO Betoni, are assisting Keliber (earlier post), which is preparing a lithium mine in Kaustinen, Finland, in utilizing the massive side streams typically produced in the mining industry.
Tailings produced as a side stream in Keliber’s minerals processing and analcime sand produced later in the lithium production process will be used in concrete production as aggregate at JA-KO Betoni’s plant in Kokkola, Finland.
The Geoprime solution developed by Betolar will replace cement used as a binder in concrete production with blast furnace slag produced through a steel industry side stream in Raahe, Finland. Replacing cement will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Low-carbon concrete can be used, for example, in the structures of Keliber’s mine.
Significant environmental benefits arise in two ways. Firstly, replacing cement with materials refined from industrial side streams will drastically cut CO2 emissions from the raw material, to as much as one-fifth of current levels. Secondly, the use of side streams as the aggregate for concrete instead of natural rock material significantly reduces the use of virgin natural resources.
Different side streams, which must be reused or deposited, are produced in mining activities. Most of these side streams are put in a waste rock stockpile at the mining site. From Betolar’s perspective, side stream materials are important future raw material sources the utilization of which on a more extensive industrial scale has only just started.
We wanted to ensure well in advance that the environmental impact of our lithium mines will be as low as possible. Our future side streams will not only be environmentally safe but will also enable the creation of new products and reduction of the use of virgin raw materials.
The concrete industry produces approximately 7% of human CO2 emissions. Betolar says that with its solution, it is possible to reduce the CO2 emissions for raw materials by up to 80% in many concrete industry product groups.