Underground miners traditionally work in harsh environments containing dust and noxious gases. Recently, there is concern that the increasing risk of heat exposure may compound the deleterious effects of these conditions and further subject the workers to increased risk of heat stress. A new and growing challenge to the industry is that the Ontario mining workforce is rapidly aging. Older workers are at a greater risk of developing a heat related injury, which is further exacerbated by poor physical fitness and disease states.
The proposed study is a part of a project that will aid in implementing an environmentally clean technology for the recovery of Ni, Co and Cu from slags (waste and semi-waste materials) of nickel production in Ontario. The conventional technology for metal recovery can treat only slags with a high content of valuable metals (~3%), and it results in technological and environmental complications, such as recycling of impurities as well as uncontrollable release of fugitive sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.
The project to be undertaken will aid in the replacement of a conventional practice of pyrometallurgical treatment of a semi-waste product (converter slag) Converter slags contain up to ~3% of No, Co and CU, and are generated in large quantities making it uneconomical to leave the metals unrecovered. The conventional technology for metal recovery results in technological and environmental complications, such as recycling of impurities as well as uncontrollable release of fugitive SO2 into the atmosphere.
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