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A New Lease of Life

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

The mining industry is a critical sector that plays a vital role in the global economy.

A New Lease of Life

It involves the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, which are then used in various industries such as construction, manufacturing, and energy production.

Lubrication is a crucial aspect of mining operations. Mining machinery, such as drills, excavators, and processing equipment, operate under harsh conditions and heavy loads. These machines require high-quality lubricants to reduce friction between moving parts, minimise wear and tear, prevent overheating, and extend equipment life.

Traditional lubricants used in the mining industry are often derived from non-renewable resources, such as petroleum, and can have several environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions caused by their high energy consuming manufacturing processes.

However, since lubricants play an essential role in energy loss reduction and increased lifetime of equipment, this impact should preferably be assessed over the whole life cycle of a lubricant.

When a lubricant becomes unsuitable for its application purpose, it turns into used oil. Used lubricating oils are classified as hazardous waste, both for health and for the environment. They can lead to soil and water contamination if not properly disposed of, therefore many countries have set up national regulations mandating that these oils be collected and properly managed.

The circular model applied to the lubricants industry

Recycled oils, also known as re-refined base oils (RRBO), are manufactured out of used lubricants. The treatment process aims at restoring the oil’s original properties. This is made possible by removing most of the impurities generated or introduced during the life phase of the lubricants.

The global recycling scheme involves several steps:

  • The collection of used oil, from various sources, including industrial operations, automotive services, etc.
  • The gathering of collected used oil and their storage in dedicated sites.
  • The transportation of collected oil to the recycling/regeneration plants, mostly by trucks (more rarely by ship or train).
  • The re-refining treatment as such, which yields RRBO as the main product (60 – 70% of processed used oils), and water, solvent, gasoil, and asphaltic residue as by-products.

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Mining equipment news