The European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources

The ETP Sustainable Mineral Resources has established already its strategic ambitions related to the climate change and energy efficiency goals:

Strategic Ambition 2 (mineral extraction from land and sea bed deposits)

o             Energy efficient transportation in the mine/quarry;

o             Energy efficient mining and quarrying .

 

Strategic Ambition 3 (mineral processing)

By 2020 Europe has identified new ore, mineral and concentrates processing technologies that will allow step changes in energy, water and emissions intensity and will allow treating more complex and lower grade (primary and secondary) mineral resources. These technologies, including energy efficient crushing and grinding technology, will pave the way for expanding European business and future advanced jobs.

o             Mineral processing technologies: energy efficiency plus higher yield recovery, waste reduction;

o             Backfilling techniques to increase use of waste, increase efficiency and addressing stability, and subsidence;

o             New separation technologies, especially in dry conditions (currently limited performances while it could significantly reduce water consumption)

o             Innovative energy-efficient screening, classification and de-watering technology

Strategic Ambition 4 (metallurgy/metals recovery)

To meet tomorrow’s challenges, new metallurgical processes shall:

o             converge towards the optimal trade-off between energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission (including CO2) and optimization of a resource, whether in one process or thanks to a network of processes in the area (region, country, EU)

For extractive metallurgy, these objectives can be achieved by focusing on three aspects:

o             Support efforts to improve the energy efficiency and limit the environmental impact of existing processes (including capturing of greenhouse gases and recuperation of energy in slags and off-gases of pyrometallurgical processes, optimizing energy use in electrometallurgical or electrochemical processes, regeneration of electrolytes etc.). Additionally, improve recovery of trace elements (range and yields) from thermodynamically difficult material mixes.

o             Enhance cooperation and integration to minimize waste of resources and energy consumption on a system wide scale. This can be achieved by supporting the use of by-products rich in valuable metals that are not inherent to the system as feed material in other plants/processes.

o             Optimise metal yields and energy efficiency of metallurgical processes;

Strategic Ambition 5 (Recycling)

o             Efficient sorting, pre-treatment and metallurgy of complex multi-metallic and material wastes including functional surfaces (LCDs, photovoltaic, …) and the interface optimisation (addressing interdependencies of the steps by using a systems approach)

The ETP SMR together with the Forest Platform has now been awarded an EU project called “VERAM” under Horizon 2020 to establish also a Roadmap for the raw materials sector (primary and secondary) till 2050.