WP4: Eco-efficient metal production methods and utilization of secondary materials

Boliden Tailings at BRGM technological plateform.

IMN electric furnace

Bangor Biorecovery of metals from mine waters process flowsheet

IMN Promine copper cathod   



The objective in WP4 is to give proof of concept of (bio)hydrometallurgy technologies on European resources, eventually by integrating new internal processing routes in current flowsheets for the optimization of the recovery of metals, and by developing innovative routes for treatment of wastes/secondary resources (tailings, contaminated process water).


The workflow in WP4 adopts the stages commonly used in feasibility studies:

 Resources assessment and process selection, with particular attention on secondary resources (mining wastes) and low cost processing technologies

 Technological development and demonstration of process alternatives and new (bio)technologies, at a scale that will allow to make commercial estimates

 Techno-economic prefeasibility assessment, for those options that were demonstrated to be technically viable in the previous stage


 New Bioreactor for Bioleaching application: BRGM, MRM and AL are working on the development of a technology based on new agitation/aeration equipment for the biotreatment of low grade materials (tailings, by-products, low-grade concentrates). 

 Metal recovery from Mine waters: Bangor University is developing an integrated metal- biorecovery system to produce saleable products from an acidic, metal-rich water body in northern Sweden (Maurliden). The major objective is to remove target metals selectively, producing relatively pure-grade products, and to ensure that the major toxic metal(oid)s (arsenic, cadmium etc.) are also removed effectively from the processed water.

 Transformation of slags into new resources: The transformation of environmentally hazardous slag’s into mineral resources was tested by IMN. The recovery of valuable metals in usable products, such as crude lead, copper and iron, copper matte and Zn-Pb dust was carried out using ) electric furnace and TSL reactor (Top Submerged Lancing).

 Improved (bio)processing methods for complex ore : The technical feasibility of a new integrated bioprocessing route for the treatment of a black shale copper concentrate containing of Cu and Ag was demonstrated by BRGM and IMN. A fully integrated flowsheet was designed.