The cement industry produces 8 % of the world’s carbon emissions, and the supply of sand is running out. We research how sand can be replaced and how millions of tons of industrial waste can be turned into raw materials.


Tailings are produced when you extract a target mineral from ore, and then store the un-used ore and rock in large dams. There are, however, safer technologies to store the waste. At the moment over 71 % of excavated material ends up in a dump. In Finland the amount of mining waste is 76 % of the total amount of waste produced in the country.


Water is critical in mining and in enrichment processes. Particularly in rainy regions, it is important to control the water balance to avoid breaking or overflowing dams. Different water treatment technologies offer new tools for this, tools which assure discharge is as clean as possible.

Carbon dioxide

Direct carbon emissions are fairly low in mining. However, within the industry efforts are underway to lower them even more via electrification of machinery. Mining supports effects vis-à-vis climate by producing metals for batteries, the key product for electrification.

We solve global problems

Xplorer sits at LUT University’s School of Engineering Science. Xplorer brings to the UNESCO network excellence in separation science, waste management and circular economy. Our research focus is in tailings and mining water. Our objective is to use tailings as raw material and to give-up tailings dams. Our vision is to treat mining-water in closed loops so nothing goes to waterways. There are solutions for sustainable mining. One need only actively look for them.

We did it! A New, Ecological Building Material is born.

Professor Häkkinen is responsible for research in the Xplorer network. He just finished the Urban Infra Revolution project, in which he developed a material to substitute concrete. Raw materials used to create it were construction waste, mining tailings and industrial ash. One was able to produce a new, 3D printable raw material, which was almost completely (99,6 %) made of industrial side streams and without bonding agents. 

Different manufacturing recipes were tested during the project. At best carbon emissions were 98 % lower than producing concrete with traditional methods. Moreover, the new material was freely moldable. At the moment the new material is being tested outdoors in a 100-metre-long noise wall. A potential new ecological building material is born!

What interests us?

Responsible for research

Jutta Nuortila-Jokinen

The successful future of many industries relies on their successful transition into the circular economy. Xplorer actively contributes to this transition. We develop innovative solutions for a sustainable future, inspired together with our partners.

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