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Deep-sea tailings treatment? Dispute over waste disposal plan of nickel mine in Indonesia
May 19,2020 10:39CST
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM: as Indonesia expands its mining industry to meet the world's strong demand for zero-emission vehicles, it also faces a problem: how to dispose of the resulting waste?

In January this year, the two companies proposed to the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime and Investment Coordination a plan to use this method, that is, deep-sea tailings treatment.

Environmental advocates and researchers worry that efforts to profit from the global clean energy transition will come at the expense of marine life in the coral reef delta, which includes parts of Indonesia and several other countries in the western Pacific.

Nickel mines, which have long been a core industry in Indonesia, have been increasingly driven to meet growing battery demand.

The smelting of battery nickel will produce a large amount of acidic waste full of heavy metals, and how to dispose of the waste is one of the most important decisions in the smelting project.

The company has chosen the deep-sea tailings treatment method to manage tailings, a by-product of extracting metal from the ore, which is another option to build dams to store tailings or spend money to dispose of waste, but this practice is still controversial.

'i don't think we should use the marine environment as a garbage dump, 'said Amanda Reichelt-Brushett, a professor of environmental toxicology at Southern Cross University in Australia. According to his research, the increase in nickel ore in the ocean can destroy corals in as little as four days.

In addition, Merah Johansyah, director of Jatam, said that these projects will have a negative impact on the lives of coastal communities, especially small-scale or traditional fishermen who live to a large extent dependent on marine and fishery resources in local waters.

Ellen Moore, International Mining Coordinator of the Environmental Research and Advocacy Group Earthworks, believes that given the geological and hydrological conditions of the area, the best available technology is to return tailings to pits and tunnels of ore origin.

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