Morecovery is a metal and mineral recovery service at a laboratory and/or pilot scale that allows organisations in the raw materials extractive industry to assess whether it is worth recovering metals and minerals from their solid and liquid side streams.
The demand for raw materials, especially those that are on the list of critical raw materials created by the European Commission, is growing rapidly in the EU and globally.
At the same time, the amount of mine waste and side streams is increasing drastically, together with concerns related to the environmental impacts of mining. The mining industry can achieve more eco-efficient and selective raw material production by enhancing the utilisation of side streams and mine waste. This creates a need for robust recovery methods and efficient removal of dissolved metals from mine water streams while securing the surrounding environment and ecosystem.
Evaluation of the applicability of removal and recovery technologies for a specific industrial case requires a systematic approach. The potential source materials have to be analysed and suitable recovery processes examined and tested, first at laboratory scale and then at a larger scale under field conditions.
The development of a service providing an economically viable solution for hydrometallurgy and water treatment by covering a wide spectrum of investigations, from laboratory-scale studies to pilot-scale applications, is the subject of the recently launched Morecovery innovation project funded by EIT RawMaterials.
EIT RawMaterials partners Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), Finnish Minerals Group (FMG), Keliber, LTU Business, Savonia University of Applied Science, University of Eastern Finland (UEF), University of Huelva (UHU) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have received funding for the new innovation project to develop modular recovery process services for hydrometallurgy and water treatment. The three-year Morecovery project was launched in January 2019 in Helsinki, Finland, and is coordinated by GTK.
The main objective of the project is to secure access to critical raw materials for the EU, by developing a service package that enables producers to carry out a non-aligned technical and economic analysis of the potential for recovery of these materials. To achieve the objective, the existing water treatment and hydrometallurgical pilot set-up co-owned by GTK and Savonia University of Applied Science will be modernised and the piloting capacity will be combined with the laboratory-scale investigations offered by UEF, Savonia University of Applied Science and GTK, creating a sound service package for hydrometallurgy and water treatment.
To validate the service package, potential extractive waste facilities will be screened and tested in Finland, and Keliber will offer a case target for ore processing. The Spanish partners will research the secondary raw material potential of old mine sites in the Iberian Pyritic Belt and provide test material for pilot studies. LTU Business will look into business opportunities for the Morecovery service package.
As a result of the project, the use of secondary materials and side streams in raw material production will be enhanced. Environmental goals will be achieved through cleaner mine waters and decreased amounts of extractive waste containing potentially harmful elements.