01 March 2018 – 28 May 2021


Companies operating in the recovery of non-ferrous metals (especially the lead, zinc and copper producers) generate solid waste in the form of the metallurgical slags as a by-product of their processes. About 240,000 t of the waste slags from lead and zinc industry are produced each year just in Poland, and in Europe, this kind of waste is produced in the amount of several million tons. Those slags are mostly hazardous for the natural environment and require storage in the properly secured landfills. The slag producers bear the costs of building the landfills as well as the environmental fees for the waste storage. The non-ferrous metals producers are looking for an efficient method to eliminate the metallurgical waste slags from the process cycle according to the “zero-waste” strategy.

The primary objective of this project is to upscale a technology to recover metals from waste slags produced by lead/zinc and copper industry. These slags are potential sources of valuable base metals, which can be recovered in the form of marketable products. Additionally, after the process, the slag can be transformed into a non-hazardous material which can be used in the building sector as aggregate, i.e. for road construction or other applications. The results of the project will create solid grounds for making a decision about building the slag valorization installations at each of the important metallurgical waste slag producers and to integrate them with the main base metal production equipment.

The solution (technology)

The project will provide a ready for implementation solution for the growing challenge of waste management in the companies which produce white slag by complete transformation of its volume into construction material, thus eliminating the environmentally hazardous material, and at the same time providing additional profit to the companies thanks to the recovery of base (Zn, Pb, Cu) and by-product (Ag, Sb, Sn) metals which are contained therein.


  • Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals (IMN), Poland (Lead partner)
  • Baterpol S.A., Poland
  • BERZELIUS Stolberg GmbH, Germany
  • Küttner GmbH & Co. KG, Germany
  • Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochschule Aachen, (RWTH Aachen), Germany
  • Flemish Institute for Technological Research NV (VITO), Belgium