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These different categories of mineral waste are not systematically measured and estimates are not available for all mineral waste categories. For example, blasting done in road construction projects results in "waste" that is similar to the waste rock from mining, yet it generally does not get counted since it is typically crushed up and used as fill. Waste rock resulting from mining often does not have an application of this kind close by and therefore gets counted as waste rock.
Waste rock is mined material that has not been processed to recover valuable materials and typically carries little or no risk to health or the environment. Tailings are a residual following the processing of materials and are subject to ongoing management regimes.
This estimate does not cover waste managed on-site by companies or households (for example, backyard composting) or materials that are transported directly to secondary processors. See textbox "Waste Management Industry Survey: Coverage" in Section 3 for further details.
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