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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Previous projects > Industrial Processes > Valorisation of lead and zinc smelter slags
Graphic element Valorisation of lead and zinc smelter slags
New zinc and lead smelting processes result in waste slag with appropriate composition and morphology for use in construction, eliminating disposal costs and landfills.

Currently, slag waste generated by primary zinc and lead smelters must be disposed of in landfills in accordance with tightening environmental regulations, but competition from overseas is now fiercer than ever and European producers are looking for ways to avoid high disposal costs by finding productive uses for slag. Iron slag is already being used in road building materials, as an aggregate in concrete and in masonry.

The aim of this project was to develop new zinc and lead smelting processes for the production of waste slag with appropriate chemical composition, particle size and morphology to allow its use in concrete, bricks, tiles and in road construction. Fundamental to the success of the project was a better understanding of the leaching mechanism.

Benefits to zinc and lead slag producers include an estimated 5 MECU in annual slag sales and a 15 MECU reduction in transport and disposal costs. For end-users, the new materials represent a superior alternative to sand and other aggregates currently in use, and depending on availability, potential savings in transportation costs as well. In environmental terms, the recovery of slag means natural raw materials can be saved and landfills avoided.

Cordis RCN: 23150
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