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eco-friendly homes from industrial waste (Eco news)


eco-friendly homes from industrial waste
CNN International reported

A South African coal-mining company is cleaning up its act by building cheap, eco-friendly housing using its industrial waste.

For some years AngloAmerican -- one of the world's largest mining firms -- has been purifying the water contaminated during its coal mining activities in the South African city of eMalahleni.

Now, AngloAmerican is mixing the waste by-product -- a mineral known as gypsum -- with cement to make energy-efficient bricks it uses to build houses there.

"We've built 62 houses so far," said Peter Gunther, AngloAmerican's head of sustainable development, and the driving force behind the initiative.

"Each home requires about eight tons of gypsum, but at present we're removing over 200 tons of it from the water every day."

Gypsum is a basic mineral compound of calcium and sulphur. The non-toxic mineral is soluble in water, but becomes harder and more adhesive the hotter and dryer it gets.

Because gypsum is malleable when wet, its most common commercial application to date is as the main ingredient for household plaster.

"Actually, there are 50 different uses for it -- from dental surgery to fireproofing doors," said Gunther.

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