Metso Insights Blog Mining and metals blog Metso’s circular economy approach with mill lining recycling
May 20, 2024

Metso’s circular economy approach with mill lining recycling

Lars Furtenbach
Lars Furtenbach
Director, Research & Technology Development, Mill Lining
Markus Marttiini
Markus Marttiini
VP, Optimized Mill Lining
Dealing with worn mill liners has been a key problem for many mines sites and concentrator plants when it comes to reaching sustainability goals. Changing out the linings on one or several mills over the course of a year can result in thousands of tons linings that typically end up being sent to already loaded landfill sites.
The recycling plant in our factory in Concón, Chile
The recycling plant in our factory in Concón, Chile

As part of our mill lining offering, we first launched our recycling service for worn mill liners in Europe and have now introduced this innovative service to South America, and more regions will come. This first-of-its-kind service aims to recycle and create value from used mill liners on an industrial scale. So how can mill liner recycling help you reach your sustainability targets and solve the problem of disposal of worn liners?

Metso has been studying methods to better recycle rubber and Poly-Met mill liners for several years. The objective was to identify a safe, environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient process to dismantle worn out liners. Lars Furtenbach, Director, Research & Technology Development, Mill Lining, who has been part of the development process since the beginning, and Markus Marttiini, VP, Optimized Mill Lining, describes how you can benefit from recycling of worn-out liners and how it can help you to lower your carbon footprint.

“Metso wants to accelerate the circularity of all wear parts and materials. Metso’s separation line is a crucial step on that path. We are also exploring ways to increase the number of recycled materials in our liners to further close the circularity loop,” Lars Furtenbach explains.

What are the benefits of the recycling service?

The mill liner recycling service solves the problem of disposing worn and used mill liners. Instead of being sent to a landfill, the different liner components can be recycled or reused in the most optimal way. As many of our customers have ambitious sustainability targets and are implementing long-term strategies for decarbonization with a commitment to net zero in their own operations, this service meets their needs and offers a way to reduce CO2 emissions and improve environmental efficiency. When reusing the backing plates of a Megaliner™ and recycling Poly-Met™ inserts, the CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 33%.

How does mill liner recycling work?

Worn liners must be disassembled before they can be either reused or recycled. The recycling service is enabled by an innovative separation line that can process liners of all sizes. The modular and container-based separation line enables safe and efficient separation of different rubber and metal liner components. The separation process breaks the bond between rubber and metal so that all components can be disassembled. They come out of the process unharmed and can be either reused or recycled.

The recycling process works like this:

  1. Worn liners are collected on site
  2. Liners are transported to the Metso facility
  3. Liner components are separated in the new separation line
  4. Valuable materials (rubber and steel components) are either reused or recycled as raw material for new liners
  5. Liners can be recycled again after use

​​​​What type of liners can be processed?

The recycling service is facilitated by an innovative technology, enabling a safe and efficient separation of different rubber and metal liner components, such as cast inserts, wear plates, and backing plates. All composite liners, like Megaliner™ and Poly-Met™ as well as rubber mill liners can be processed. Metso also has an existing recycling process for metallic mill liners.  

”As a responsible supplier and partner for sustainable wear solutions, we are committed to developing pioneering sustainable technologies and solutions for the global mining industry. We are now expanding the recycling service to additional markets, be closer to our customer sites, which facilitates the transport of worn liners to our recycling centers,” says Markus Marttiini.

As a responsible supplier and partner for sustainable wear solutions, we are committed to developing pioneering sustainable technologies and solutions for the global mining industry.

Expanding our recycling service to more markets

First feasibility studies were conducted already in 2009, while the recycling program itself was initiated in 2015, achieving an important milestone of 1,000 recycled Megaliner™ liners  in 2016. After careful studies and customer pilots, Metso launched a new separation unit in 2022 for its customers in Europe. Now, in May 2024, our recycling service is available for customers in South America, and later in 2024 it will be expanded to North and Central America.

Final thoughts and next steps

The focus on environmental demands from societies, regulators, investors and mine sites will increase even more in the coming years. Metso has a strong belief in partnering with their customers to help them work towards lowering their environmental footprint. With less unprocessed waste material sent to landfills, recycling helps reduce CO2 emissions and improve environmental efficiency.

Metso is putting great effort in developing and manufacturing high-performance mill liners. We want to go a step further and ensure that the disposal of mill liners is easy for our customers and the used liners are efficiently recycled and reused for optimal circularity. The development continues with finding new processes and materials with the main objective to contribute to more sustainable operations and help our customers reach their targets when it comes to sustainability and CO2 emissions. Stay tuned!

Check the video
Recycle your worn out mill liners
The recycling service is a part of our Planet Positive offering focused on environmentally efficient technologies and services.
Interested to learn more about recycling services? Contact us!
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