Remains of lead mining. Ceredigion, Wales


In-situ processes in resource extraction from waste repositories

Cardiff University, Warwick University & the University of the West of England

The objective of ‘INSPIRE’ is to understand and manipulate the biogeochemistry of waste within waste repositories (e.g. landfills, industrial waste, municipal solid waste, metallurgical and mining waste) to recover valuable resources by leaching and other treatments whilst the material lies in situ.  This avoids the need to actively extract the material and thereby minimises ecological and environmental impacts. Appropriate benchmarking will be developed for these recovery processes in terms of life-cycle (societal, economic, cultural and environmental impacts) and their impact on ecosystems services.

Specifically, INSPIRE seeks to:

  • Optimize the in situ recovery of ‘E-tech’ elements and Elements of Value (EoV) from waste repositories.
  • Increase the recovery of energy (from methane) and metals through biotechnologically enhanced lignocellulose degradation.
  • Develop Resource Recovery Models
  • Perform environmental systems modelling to understand the health and social impacts of recovering resources from geological waste storage

More information is available from the website: 


  • Sinnett, D., Sardo, A.M. (in press) Former metal mining landscapes in England and Wales: Five perspectives from local residents. Landscape and Urban Planning.
  • Muaaz-Us-Salam et al. (2019). The case for examining fluid flow in municipal solid waste at the pore-scale – A review. Waste Management and Research. In press. doi: 10.1177/0734242X19828120, Open Access. Published online Feb 2019.
  • Sinnett, D. (2018). Going to waste? The potential impacts on nature conservation and cultural heritage from resource recovery on former mineral extraction sites in England and Wales. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. In press. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2018.1490701, Open Access.
  • Crane, R. and Sapsford, D. (2018). Towards Greener Lixiviants in Value Recovery from Mine Wastes: Efficacy of Organic Acids for the Dissolution of Copper and Arsenic from Legacy Mine Tailings. Minerals, 8(9), 383. doi:10.3390/min8090383, Open Access.
  • Crane, R.A. and Sapsford, D.J. (2018). Sorption and fractionation of rare earth element ions onto nanoscale zerovalent iron particles. Chemical Engineering Journal. 345, 126-137., Open Access.
  • Warwick, al. (2018). Altered chemical evolution in landfill leachate post implementation of biodegradable waste diversion. Waste Management and Research., Open Access.
  • Crane & Sapsford (2018). Towards “Precision Mining” of wastewater: Selective recovery of Cu from acid mine drainage onto diatomite supported nanoscale zerovalent iron particles. Chemosphere, 202, 339-348. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.03.042, Open Access.
  • Chen et al. (2018). Decoupled Advection-Dispersion Method for Determining Wall Thickness of Slurry Trench Cutoff Walls. International Journal of Geomechanics. 18 (5), p.06018007. Open Access Abstract.
  • Peppicelli et al. (2018). Changes in metal speciation and mobility during electrokinetic treatment of industrial wastes: Implications for remediation and resource recovery. Science of The Total Environment. 624, 1488-1503. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.132, Open Access.
  • Crane & Sapsford (2018). Selective formation of copper nanoparticles from acid mine drainage using nanoscale zerovalent iron particles. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 347, 252-265. doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2017.12.014, Open Access.
  • Roberts et al. (2017). Changes in Metal Leachability through Stimulation of Iron Reducing Communities within Waste Sludge. In Solid State Phenomena (262, 269-272), 22nd International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium. Trans Tech Publications. doi:10.4028/, Open Access Abstract.
  • Crane et al. (2017). Physicochemical composition of wastes and co-located environmental designations at legacy mine sites in the south west of England and Wales: Implications for their resource potential. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 123, 117-134. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.08.009; Open Access.
  • Sapsford et al. (2017). In Situ Resource Recovery from Waste Repositories: Exploring the Potential for Mobilization and Capture of Metals from Anthropogenic Ores. Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy. 3, (2), 375–39. doi:1–18. doi:10.1007/s40831-016-0102-4, Open Access.
  • Rashid, et al. (2017) Delignification and enhanced gas release from soil containing lignocellulose by treatment with bacterial lignin degraders. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 123, (1), 159–171. doi: 10.1111/jam.13470; Open Access.

Further project outputs can be accessed via the INSPIRE publications webpage.