Mine Waste use and valorisation, Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) recovery
Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) are crucial to Europe’s economy. They form a strong industrial base, producing a broad range of goods and applications used in everyday life and modern technologies. CRMs are needed for significant economic and strategic sectors, e.g. for manufacturing batteries, construction tools, sensors and electronic devices, medical devices and metals, and are required across the wider automotive, defence and renewable energy sectors. However, unreliable supply and difficult substitution of CRMs is a growing concern within the EU and across the globe. Currently, the EU relies on the rest of the world for many CRMs such as Antimony (Sb, 100% imported), Cobalt (Co, 32% imported), Germanium (Ge, 64% imported) and Tungsten (W, 44% imported). European reserves and current recycling rates are low (2% for Ge as an example), and recycling rates are substantially insufficient to meet demand.
RAWMINA Horizon 2020 Project
“Integrated Innovative Pilot System For Critical Raw Materials Recovery From Mines Wastes In A Circular Economy Context” (“RAWMINA”) is a 42-month Horizon 2020-funded project aiming to develop and demonstrate an innovative pilot system for the clean and sustainable production of non-energy, non-agricultural raw materials from Mine Waste (MW). This industrially scalable and flexible innovative pilot system will be able to achieve, in continuous operation, 95% recovery rate and 95% selectivity for CRMs (Co, Sb, Ge, W), and 80-90% recovery rate and 95% selectivity for Gold (Au), Silver (Ag) and Iron (Fe) based high-value products, whilst reutilising 90% of water. The RAWMINA pilot system will treat up to 100-150kg of MW/day on an industrial demonstration (TRL7, 12 months operation) and includes an efficient, circular and robust process control by an end-to-end Intelligent Management System.
An interdisciplinary, vibrant, industry-led consortium formed by 19 (4 large enterprises, 7 SMEs, 5 RTOs and 3 universities), European and international partners (European: Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain; International: Chile, UK), with recognized expertise, experience, skills, resources, infrastructure and position in the fields of mining industry, circular economy, renewable energy, material sciences, and business development, is prepared to achieve these goals. Coordinated by LEITAT, and involving a prominent industrial partner from Chile (where the world’s largest copper ore deposits exist) the consortium will also leverage the knowledge and support of the Advisory Board members, including expertise from the mining sector in South Africa, Portugal and Turkey. Finally, RAWMINA will contribute towards the reduction of production costs and environmental impacts, as well as to the objectives of the European Innovation Partnership on CRMs.
The Raw Minerals Helix is an international Open Innovation community of specialists in CRMs recovery and related disciplines. Researchers, industry actors, ethics specialists and policy makers, civil society (end users) and participants of other relevant projects and relevant actors across Europe/the world are invited to join the Helix.
The Raw Minerals Helix was launched as a focus for impact and dissemination services in support of the RAWMINA project's ambition to foster a truly collaborative ecosystem. In achieving this ambition, RAWMINA will contribute towards efforts to increase the circular economy in the mining sector, as well as to generate knowledge, technology and best practices.
The RAWMINA project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958252 🇪🇺.
This material reflects only the author’s view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.