MetGrow+ project looks at metals recovery
VTT, a research, development and innovation partner, coordinated a project that combined new and existing recovery methods of economically significant metals from process waste as well as low-grade ores.
The recently completed MetGrow+ project found ways to increase Europe’s self-sufficiency in cobalt, nickel and zinc. These methods can also be used to recover additional metals from other material streams.
The project also identified uses for residual material from which metals have already been recovered. Certain side streams appear chemically and mechanically resistant and structurally suitable for building materials.
A total of 19 companies, research organizations and universities from nine European countries participated in the four-year endeavour.
Stakeholders interested in using low-grade ores and waste can evaluate the potential value of these raw-material streams through a webtool developed as part of the project.
The MetGrow calculator webtool is intended to support decision-making by mines, mining technology developers, recyclers and politicians, among others.
A user can enter a raw material and assess its downstream options at local waste and energy prices.
“The potential of low-grade ores, wastes and side streams is now easier to discern as we know the kind of metal concentrations they have and which methods are suitable for recovering those metals. Even a smaller side stream from a large mine or metallurgical plant can prove to be a significant business for another company,” Paivi Kinnunen, VTT coordinator of the MetGrow+ project, said in a media release.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)