Since animations speak louder than words, check out this diagram!
There are now three steps in processing ore from mines. Each step produces different products and byproducts, requiring different skills and equipment, and each creates various levels of pollution that must be dealt with. The new steps are crushing, which generates crushed rock and crushed ore, and concentration. Concentration produces ore concentrate, and either wet or dry tailings depending on the machine and ore. The step we’ve always had, smelting, will now produce slag as a byproduct instead of tailings.
With the addition of wet tailings, we have one of the most dangerous pollutants yet, which will be especially catastrophic if it leaks into the water supply. Concentrating iron ore without water will be an option, but gold and copper concentration will always produce wet tailings. The amounts generated here will be enough that a waste management plan will be needed to keep the surrounding areas safe. Since these facilities might be located in different places, transportation becomes in issue. In general this change will increase the depth and fidelity of processing mined ore, and set the stage for connections to other aspects of the game (skills, buildings, transport, pollution, treatment, and so on).
We’re continuing on 8.2 which we plan to release ASAP, and will contain tons of performance updates as well as in-game voice! And after that we’re full speed ahead on Eco 9.0, which you can read more about the government update here.