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Use of quarry fines to make a construction aggregate

Mining Engineering , 2013, Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 57-64

Gaillard, S.C.; Mensah-Biney, R.; Miller, J.W.


Tailings are made of ground rock that is left over from removing valuable minerals. The tailings are usually fine particles that cause environmental issues for storage and disposal. Disposal of tailings is a growing concern, as more tailings are produced from the increasing demand for mined material (ITRC, 2008). This project proposes a way to convert the mine waste to a useful product. Tailings were selected from a South Carolina crushed stone quarry, the products of which are used for road beds, sidewalks, asphalt and driveways. These tailings were processed to generate synthetic aggregates for construction applications. The synthetic aggregate creates a product that could be used for many purposes, including aggregate for sidewalks, driveways, roads and building materials. Testing methods followed the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) guidelines for physical testing of coarse natural aggregate, which are sieve analysis, Los Angeles abrasion, absorption, specific gravity and soundness test. The synthetic aggregate produced passed all tests for NCDOT and, in some instances, rated better than a natural aggregate. Using the tailings from the crushed stone and mining industry would convert the waste into a valuable, marketable product.