Project duration: 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2020


The project OpTaRec proposes the upscaling of innovative solutions for the conditioning of secondary raw materials, the implementation of innovative process automation and the application of efficient material logistic concepts. Through the upscale of the solutions elaborated within the three activity fields and their interplay (fully integrated process concept), the consortium targets the following objectives: increase of the resource efficiency (decrease of yield losses of up to 2% – 3% along the entire production chain, decrease of energy consumption of up to 20%), advancement of the cost efficiency (savings of ~1 Euro/kg on production costs), improvement of the product quality (improvement of the metal selection process and recovery), reduction of the impact on the environment through the decrease of material loss emissions and developing innovative solutions for processing other recycling materials that cannot be processed technically or economically so far.

The solution (technology)

By aiming at the application of innovative concepts for an upscaling of an efficient and sustainable Tantalum recycling process and by considering implications for the required education of the workforce, project OpTaRec is in line with the overall EIT Raw Materials goal to support the European competitiveness of the raw materials industry. The project will enable a deeper understanding of secondary raw material resources to strengthen the supply of Tantalum for the European economy and will, therefore, serve the strategic KIC objective of “securing of raw materials supply”. Furthermore, OpTaRec is based on circular thinking, aiming at a reduction of material losses and stocks of unused materials along the entire process through recycling, and material chain optimization. Thus, the project is contributing to the strategic objective of “closing of material loops”. By combining the three major aspects of an efficient process (conditioning, automation and logistics), the project consortium is developing and deploying integrated solutions for an increased resource efficiency in mineral and metallurgical processes from a systemic standpoint. Thus, OpTaRec will contribute to the competitiveness of the Raw Materials Sector in Europe through delivering a blueprint relevant to the basic product-oriented process industry in general and specifically for pyrometallurgical processes (e.g tin and steel industry).


  • H.C. Starck GmbH, Germany (Lead Partner)
  • Clausthal University of Technology, Germany
  • Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria
  • Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochschule Aachen, RWTH Aachen, Germany