Pyrite cinders, which are the waste products of sulphuric acid manufacturing plants, contain hazardous heavy metals with potential environmental risks for disposal. In this study, the potential use of pyrite cinders (PyCs) as iron source in the production of Portland cement clinker was demonstrated at the industrial scale. The chemical and mineralogical analyses of the PyC sample used in this study have revealed that it is essentially a suitable raw material for use as iron source since it contains >87% Fe(2)O(3) mainly in the form of hematite (Fe(2)O(3)) and magnetite (Fe(3)O(4)). The samples of the clinkers produced from PyC in the industrial scale trial operation of 6 months were tested for the conformity of their chemical composition and the physico-mechanical performance of the resultant cement products. The data were compared with the clinker products of the iron ore, which is used as the raw material for the production Portland cement clinker in the plant. The chemical compositions of all the clinker products of PyC appeared to conform to those of the iron ore clinker, and hence, a Portland cement clinker. The mechanical performance of the mortars prepared from the PyC clinker was found to be consistent with those of the industrial cements e.g. CEM I type cements. It can be inferred from the leachability tests (TCLP and SPLP) that PyC could be a potential source of heavy metal pollution while the mortar samples obtained from the PyC clinkers present no environmental problems. These findings suggest that the waste pyrite cinders can be readily used as iron source for the production of Portland cement. The availability of PyC in large quantities at low cost provides further significant benefits for the management/environmental practices of these wastes and for the reduction of mining and processing costs of cement raw materials. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.