Eco-Friendly Dust Control with Biopolymer

Case ID:

This invention is the use of a biopolymer to stabilize mine tailings for dust control. In addition, the invention describes a flat-ended cylindrical penetrometer to measure the surface strength and dust resistance of mine tailings.


Mine tailings are finely ground rock that remains after valuable metals have been extracted in the milling process. Mine tailings are vulnerable to wind erosion and the dust can contaminate soils, water, and air quality. Current methods to mitigate the dust from mine tailings include adding water, physically cover the mine tailings with gravel/soil/synthetic material/vegetation, or using chemical suppressants. Unfortunately, these methods may be costly or have adverse environmental impacts. A solution is needed for naturally occurring, reproducible, and renewable material.



  • Environmental clean up
  • Mining industry



  • Increases strength by introducing a binding network between particles
  • Enhances moisture retention capacity
  • Dust resistance and cracking resistance is associated with greater biopolymer concentrations
  • Higher biopolymer concentrations resulted in a decrease of infiltration depth for the biopolymer while retaining effectiveness
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tariq Ahmed
Sr Licensing Manager, College of Engineering
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Lianyang Zhang