Legacy iron and steel wastes in the UK: Extent, resource potential, and management futures

Riley, A. L., MacDonald, J. , Burke, I. T., Renforth, P., Jarvis, A. P., Hudson-Edwards, K. A., McKie, J. and Mayes, W. M. (2020) Legacy iron and steel wastes in the UK: Extent, resource potential, and management futures. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 219, 106630. (doi: 10.1016/j.gexplo.2020.106630)

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The iron and steel industry has a long tradition of bulk reuse of slags for a range of construction applications. Growing interest in recent years has seen slag resource recovery options extend to critical raw material recovery and atmospheric carbon capture. Full scale deployment of such technologies is currently limited in part by absent or partial inventories of slag deposit locations, data on composition, and volume estimates in many jurisdictions. This paper integrates a range of spatial information to compile a database of iron and steel slag deposits in mainland United Kingdom (UK) for the first time and evaluate the associated resource potential. Over 190 million tonnes of legacy iron and steel slag are present across current and former iron and steel working regions of the UK, with particular concentrations in the north west and north east of England, and central Scotland. While significant potential stockpiles of blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace slag could provide up to 0.9 million tonnes of vanadium and a cumulative carbon dioxide capture potential of 57–138 million tonnes, major management challenges for resource recovery are apparent. Over one third are located in close proximity to designated conservation areas which may limit resource recovery. Furthermore, land use analyses show that many of the sites have already been redeveloped for housing (nearly 30% urban cover). Deposits from recent decades in current or recently closed steel-working areas may have the greatest potential for resource recovery where such ambitions could be coupled with site restoration and regeneration efforts.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under grant no. NE/T003022/1 (Legacy wastes in the coastal zone: Environmental risks and management futures) and NERC, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under grant no. NE/P01994/2 (Greenhouse gas removal in the iron and steel industry).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacDonald, Dr John
Creator Roles:
MacDonald, J.Investigation, Validation, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Riley, A. L., MacDonald, J., Burke, I. T., Renforth, P., Jarvis, A. P., Hudson-Edwards, K. A., McKie, J., and Mayes, W. M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Geochemical Exploration
ISSN (Online):1879-1689
Published Online:18 August 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Geochemical Exploration 219: 106630
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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