This year, Estonian state-owned energy group Eesti Energia will direct 300,000 tonnes of limestone into the circular economy by delivering limestone via rail from Ida-Viru County to various parts of the country by rail in collaboration with EVR Cargo.
The limestone is waste rock extracted from the earth's crust as a by-product of oil shale mining, according to a company press release.
The 300,000 tonnes includes the delivery of 100,000 tonnes of limestone to Graniidikeskus in Pärnu County, 20,000 tonnes of which has already reached Pärnu.
In oil shale mining, limestone is extracted from the ground together with oil shale, as oil shale and limestone are layered in the ground. During the enrichment process, limestone is separated from the oil shale, as a result of which the limestone is pure and free from organics.
"Limestone originating from oil shale mining is well suited for the construction of roads or large squares, and it has been used for establishing other large facilities as well," said Eesti Energia project director Andres Vainola. "For example, one million tonnes of limestone originating from Eesti Energia mines was used for establishing the Kukruse roundabout near Jõhvi in 2007-2008."
According to Vainola, a variety of by-products are formed in the course of energy production processes, and it is reasonable to find use for them on the basis of the principles of circular economy. "This is beneficial from the point of view of both eco-friendliness and sustainable consumption," he added.
Up to 5 million tonnes of limestone is produced annually as a by-product of oil shale mining at Eesti Energia. The goal of the energy group is to increase the utilisation of this limestone based on the principles of circular economy.
The company noted that limestone is well suited for the construction of roads, large squares, dams as well as other massive projects.
Editor: Aili Vahtla