It is of interest to study the use of copper tailings as a raw material to generate geopolymers due to the exorbitant amounts of existing tailings deposits, which also produce different risks to nearby communities. Therefore, using this industrial waste as construction material would result in several environmental and economic benefits. Due to the above, it is necessary to perform laboratory tests that account for the relevant variables to obtain fresh geopolymer pastes with good consistency,
and to obtain hardened geopolymers with good mechanical strength. This report gives an account of the experimental work carried out in the laboratory of the CIMS Sustainable Mining Research Center of the Engineering Consulting Company JRI, exposing the preliminary results observed in the generation of geopolymers by means of seven different methods using copper tailings and NaOH.
Of the seven methods evaluated in the laboratory, it was observed that two of them deliver better results from a qualitative point of view, where the influence of the curing stage stands out, reflecting that temperature is one of the critical variables for the formation of geopolymers based on copper
tailings and NaOH. The best means to work the mixtures should be studied to optimize the solubility of the NaOH and, therefore, the dissolution of the aluminosilicates in the tailings.
Keywords: copper tailings geopolymers; geopolymer generation; mechanical strength; curing temperature