It takes a smart dog to find hidden treasures

Abandoned Mine Tailings and Recovery of Critical Minerals

Missouri Waste Pile 

Where the past becomes the future.

There is a lot of interest in critical minerals currently, and especially rare earths, rare metals, and battery minerals.  In addition, copper and nickel are becoming more important.  While major new deposits are becoming harder to find, there are sources available that can be exploited fairly easily (discounting NIMBY issues).  Old mine waste and tailings deposits.  Many older mines used process that were less efficient that current process for recovery, or were going for a high grade product and not really considering recovery.  These old operations (Missouri lead district being a good example) went for one mineral and ignored others present. 

So how much is there?  In the us alone the Government Accounting Office GAO estimated there could be more than 390,000 abandoned hard rock mine features on federal land plus as many more coal and other tailings.  The International Council on Mining and Metals estimates that there are 3.500 active mine tailings operations worldwide, and an unknown number of abandoned ones.

Interest is growing, and some are looking into mine waste opportunities.  Some recent publications such as "From Tailings to Treasure? A New Mother Lode", "Mine tailings: reprocess, recover & recycle", and "Recycling and Reuse of Mine Tailings: A Review of Advancements and Their Implications" are available (links below).

Could this be the next big thing for mining, I believe so.

Reference work mine tailing reprocessing 

1)    Rare Earths, Rare Metals, and Battery Minerals ( 

2)    GAO Agency officials also estimated there could be more than 390,000 abandoned hardrock mine features on federal land (

3)    From Tailings to Treasure? A New Mother Lode (

4)    Mine tailings: reprocess, recover & recycle (

5)    Recycling and Reuse of Mine Tailings: A Review of Advancements and Their Implications (



MIke Albrecht, P.E.

o   40+ years’ experience in the mining industry with strong mineral processing experience in precious metals, copper, industrial minerals, coal, and phosphate

o   Operational experience in precious metals, coal, and phosphate plus in petrochemicals.

o   Extensive experience performing studies and determining feasibility in the US and international (United States, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, and Greece).

o    E-mail: