Finnish materials technology company Betolar has been granted a patent for its innovative method for treating and converting mining waste material into a reinforcing binder, which can be used as a low-carbon alternative to cement.
The materials technology company Betolar has been granted a patent for a method and arrangement for treating and converting waste material into a reinforcing binder. In the future, the binder can be utilised commercially. Hence it creates value for the waste material now generating costs.
In the mining industry, the recovery and enrichment of metals generate globally large amounts of metallic effluent, sludge, and dregs, which are in many ways cumbersome to handle and risky for environmental safety. The treatment and storage of waste materials in mining areas also require massive storage pools.
The method developed and patented by Betolar heat-treats the waste material generated in the bioleaching process, causing it to become a reactive substance with a binder potential. It can be made into a reinforcing binder by a simple treatment to solidify and stabilize the end-use waste material.
“Our invention relates to a method by which wastewater, sludge and dregs can be treated and utilized, for example, in a mining area. Waste materials, such as gypsum sludge can also be used in other construction applications which will be of great value to Betolar’s business in the future,” says Juha Leppänen, Betolar’s Chief Innovation Officer.
The advantage of the patented solution is that the fractions and precipitates formed in the treatment of wastewater can be solidified simply and cost-effectively. Hardened materials can be stored in piles and holes. The use of such above-ground storage and disposal sites allows for space and cost savings. Above all, it is safer for the environment.
Placing liquid and sludge waste materials in tanks incurs costs throughout the life cycle of the tanks. Storage requires substantial investment in the storage pools as well as continuous monitoring and maintenance of the condition of the pools. The economic benefits arise from the reduction in investment and maintenance costs associated with the pools. In addition, value is created for the binder used elsewhere.
Betolar’s patent portfolio is rapidly strengthening
Betolar is a materials technology company. Research and development is an important business area for its success. Product development produces new inventions that generate new innovations for business needs. In connection with the company’s normal product development, innovations are created that, at best, lead to new value-added, patentable solutions for business needs.
“The ability to produce new solutions for the utilization of sidestreams is essential to the functioning of our ecosystem. Betolar has a rapidly growing patent portfolio considering its age. We have already obtained approved patents for five inventions of ours,” says Leppänen. Betolar has another five inventions in the process of approving a patent.