Tailings(redirected from Mining tailings)
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in ore dressing, the refuse material resulting from the concentration of minerals. Tailings contain a lesser amount of the valuable component than does the initial raw material. They consist mainly of gangue; the useful components are contained in such amounts or forms that they cannot be extracted as concentrates by means of conventional technology. The metal content in tailings removed from ores amounts to hundredths of a percent. Tailings resulting from the concentration of coal are characterized by an ash content that may be as high as 70 percent. For the purpose of combined processing of mineral raw materials, tailings are retreated to obtain, for example, aluminum with a high alumina content, or are used as fluxes or building materials. In the future, tailings stored in tailing ponds may be retreated to obtain metals.