Project duration: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2022

The world is 3D but data used for resource characterization is limited to 2D. A new product integrates 3D image data obtained by X-ray tomography with process simulation tools used in the raw materials sector. Customers will profit from the novel analytical approach, allowing for unprecedented optimization of recovery, reduction of losses and increased energy efficiency. The market potential within the EU is estimated to be 30 Mio Euro per year.


Efficient utilization of raw materials requires a combination of accurate analytical data together with reliable simulation software. This allows the reliable prediction of the recovery of valuable components as well as the characterization of residues generated during mineral processing and metallurgical extraction.

The solution (technology)

In this project, we develop a service and licenced software that will merge quantitative 2-dimensional (2D) scanning electron microscopy data with 3-dimensional- (3D) energy sensitive X-ray tomography. Using 3D data instead of the common 2D data including particle breakage models will yield a major breakthrough in mineral liberation and grinding fineness and in the estimation of sortability of the ore. The new method will be used for quality control on the material itself as well as prediction of the behaviour of the material in the next processing steps. More efficient exploitation of the ore goes together with less energy consumption and less waste (tailings) production. The fact that 4% of the world’s electricity is consumed for crushing and grinding of ores highlights the impact of a reduction in energy: By application of the new technique for resource characterization, it is estimated to save 5% over the entire process from exploitation to refining. If only 5 % of the European market applies this technique the savings in comminution are 38 Mio Euro.


  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf e.V. (HZDR), Germany (Lead Partner)
  • Ghent University, Belgium
  • Outotec Oy, Finland
  • TESCAN XRE NV, Belgium