Life Cycle Assessment of Mortars Produced Partially Replacing Cement by Treated Mining Residues

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The use of secondary mining resources to replace conventional constituents in mortars production has proved the effectiveness to preserve the quality of mechanical, physical, and chemical properties. However, minimal research has been performed to quantify the environmental impacts of mortars with mining residues. In the present work, a life cycle assessment of 10 mortars was carried out. A reference mortar (100% of cement binder) and mortars with cement substitutions in 10%, 25%, and 50% by raw, electrodialytic treated, and electrodialytic plus thermal treated mining residues were analysed. The impacts were studied in six environmental categories: (1) abiotic depletion; (2) global warming; (3) ozone depletion; (4) photochemical ozone creation; (5) acidification; and (6) eutrophication potentials. The results demonstrated that mortars formulated with raw mining residues may decrease the environmental impacts, namely in global warming potential (55.1 kg CO2 eq./t modified mortar). Considering the treatments applied to mining residues, the major mitigations were reported in photochemical ozone creation (−99%), ozone depletion (−76 to −98%), and acidification potential (−90 to −94%), mainly due to the disposal impacts avoided in comparison to the reference mortar. Analysing all mortars’ constituents and their management options, products with electrodialytic treated mining residues showed higher influence in ozone depletion (18 to 52%). Coupling a thermal procedure, mining residues contributed for 99% of the abiotic depletion potential of mortars.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7947
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021


  • life cycle assessment
  • environmental impact
  • mortar
  • secondary mining resources
  • electrodialytic technology
  • thermal treatment


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