Italy is the world’s second-largest feldspar producer (3 million tons/year, 22% of total) and the world biggest importer (22% of global world trades) (European Commission). Since the strong demand is rapidly depleting the proven reserves in EU Member States, the EU ceramics sector is increasingly dependent on feldspar imports from Turkey. In the future, it will be necessary to find additional sources of feldspar or to further increase inter-continental transport. The ever increasing demand for feldspar, for ceramics, glass and other industrial uses, therefore, requires the extraction of granite and considerable international trade flows. At present, Buddussò-Alà dei Sardi (Sardinia Region-Italy) is the most important granite production area in Italy, with 66 authorised quarries (12 active), 70% of regional granite production and more than 50% of total Italian production. However, granite mining activities cause serious environmental problems. In Italy, every year 350.000-400.000 m3 of raw granite are extracted (Lucarini et al, 2020) generating the same quantity of waste. Feldspar production and trade generate large amounts of pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, due either to the energy consumption of mining activities or from the transport of the finished product from the exporting countries (mainly Turkey and China). The areas where quarries are active suffer from landscape degradation, due to incomplete compliance or non-compliance with quarry recovery plans, considering that opening new quarries is cheaper than moving large amounts of waste. Finally, granite mining accounts for huge amounts of soil consumption, as it requires large areas in which the quarry waste accumulates. The LIFE REGS II project (LIFE19 ENV/IT/000373 LIFE REGS II) aims at demonstrating an innovative and economically-viable extraction technology to produce feldspars, of the same quality to those obtained from virgin raw material, using granite scraps rather than virgin raw material. This will reduce demand for feldspar from environmentally-damaging granite mining operations as well as to minimize the soil consumption and to boost the awareness about the importance of recycling granite scraps. The project will contribute to the implementation of the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy, the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe, and Directive 2006/21/EC on the management of waste from extractive industries.

Recycling of granite scraps in Sardinia by innovative and economically-viable extraction technology in a context of circular economy

Marrocchino Elena;Vaccaro Carmela
2021

Abstract

Italy is the world’s second-largest feldspar producer (3 million tons/year, 22% of total) and the world biggest importer (22% of global world trades) (European Commission). Since the strong demand is rapidly depleting the proven reserves in EU Member States, the EU ceramics sector is increasingly dependent on feldspar imports from Turkey. In the future, it will be necessary to find additional sources of feldspar or to further increase inter-continental transport. The ever increasing demand for feldspar, for ceramics, glass and other industrial uses, therefore, requires the extraction of granite and considerable international trade flows. At present, Buddussò-Alà dei Sardi (Sardinia Region-Italy) is the most important granite production area in Italy, with 66 authorised quarries (12 active), 70% of regional granite production and more than 50% of total Italian production. However, granite mining activities cause serious environmental problems. In Italy, every year 350.000-400.000 m3 of raw granite are extracted (Lucarini et al, 2020) generating the same quantity of waste. Feldspar production and trade generate large amounts of pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, due either to the energy consumption of mining activities or from the transport of the finished product from the exporting countries (mainly Turkey and China). The areas where quarries are active suffer from landscape degradation, due to incomplete compliance or non-compliance with quarry recovery plans, considering that opening new quarries is cheaper than moving large amounts of waste. Finally, granite mining accounts for huge amounts of soil consumption, as it requires large areas in which the quarry waste accumulates. The LIFE REGS II project (LIFE19 ENV/IT/000373 LIFE REGS II) aims at demonstrating an innovative and economically-viable extraction technology to produce feldspars, of the same quality to those obtained from virgin raw material, using granite scraps rather than virgin raw material. This will reduce demand for feldspar from environmentally-damaging granite mining operations as well as to minimize the soil consumption and to boost the awareness about the importance of recycling granite scraps. The project will contribute to the implementation of the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy, the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe, and Directive 2006/21/EC on the management of waste from extractive industries.
feldspar production
waste management
soil consumption
Sardinia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2493693
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