LANDFILL MINING - Beurteilung und Bewertung des Rohstoffpotentials und der Verwertbarkeit von Abfällen österreichischer Massenabfalldeponien

Translated title of the contribution: LANDFILL MINING - Evaluation of the resource potential and the recyclability of waste originating from mass-waste landfills

Tanja Wolfsberger

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


In recent years, the rising need for raw materials by emerging economies (e.g. China) has led to a change in the availability of certain primary raw materials, such as ores or coal (Weber 2012). The accompanying rising demand for secondary raw materials, the soaring prices and the global lack of specific raw materials pique the interest of science and economics to consider landfills as possible secondary sources of raw materials. These sites often contain substantial amounts of materials that can be potentially used in recycling and/or energy recovery processes (resource potential). In this thesis, two sites were chosen for closer examination and investigation of the resource potential of Austrian mass-waste landfills. In order to establish the composition of the selected landfill bodies, a theoretical method for a preliminary estimate of the landfill content was developed in a first step. This method allows the survey of the deposited waste amounts and types (theoretical resource potential) based on historical data without any practical work (e.g., sampling) at the landfill. For the examination of the applicability of the theoretical method and its principles, various on-site explorations were conducted on both landfills in a second step. These comprised, among other things, processing experiments as well as manual sorting analyses of the excavated waste. Thus, the actual resource potential was evaluated. The results obtained show good consistency with the results gained from the theoretical method. Additionally, through stationary and mobile treatment tests, challenges in dealing with excavated waste and possible solutions were identified. In a third step, extensive chemical and physical investigations were carried out to evaluate the quality of potential secondary raw materials originating from landfills (e.g., metals, plastics, wood). Based on the results found via the analyses, the usability of selected waste fractions in specific Austrian recycling and recovery paths was appraised. As in most cases, the feasibility of a landfill mining (LFM) project is difficult to be assessed in advance, a simulation model was developed in a fourth step. It permits identifying the quantities and qualities of output flows that can be recovered by mining and by mobile on-site processing of the waste based on the treatment equipment selected by the landfill operator. Thus, charges for disposal and expected revenues from selling secondary raw materials can be assessed. Furthermore, investment, personnel, operation, servicing and insurance costs are calculated and displayed, based on the selected mobile processing procedure and its throughput, among other things.
Translated title of the contributionLANDFILL MINING - Evaluation of the resource potential and the recyclability of waste originating from mass-waste landfills
Original languageGerman
  • Flachberger, Helmut, Assessor B (internal)
  • Pomberger, Roland, Assessor A (internal)
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

no embargo


  • Landfill Mining
  • resource potential
  • manual sorting
  • sieving
  • chemical analyses
  • quality and quantity of waste
  • recycability

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