E3S Web Conf.
Volume 108, 2019Energy and Fuels 2018
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||05 July 2019|
The significance of energy consumption in environmental impact of rare earth elements recovery from tailings and mining waste
AGH University of Science and Technology Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are identified as critical raw materials for the European Union economy. REEs are not currently produced in the EU, while there are several sources not properly addressed. Within the ENVIREE project tailings from New Kankberg (Sweden) and Covas (Portugal) were identified as rich in REEs and chosen for recovery processing. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was used to evaluate the environmental impact of REEs recovery. The aim of this study is the detailed analysis of several scenarios with different electricity production schemes of REE recovery. The study discusses the share of energy use in the overall impact on the environment, taking into account diversification in the electricity production structure among EU countries. The energy use is a significant contributor to the overall environmental impact of studied cases. Its share in the total environmental burden is reaching up to 47%. The results show that applying the average electricity scheme production for Europe may lead to biased LCA results. For the accurate LCA results the local production schemes of energy for certain countries should be chosen.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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