Skip to main content

A novel biotreatment technology for sustainable metal extraction from low-grade ores, tailings and WEEE


Traditional metal extraction activities have resulted in serious impacts on the environment, including large energy and carbon footprint, toxic emissions, and acidic wastes. Due to large-scale globalization and intensive exploitation of accessible metal resources, the mining industry had to depend on low grade ores and metal waste as raw materials. These ores and wastes contain large deposits of complex organic compounds, which makes the metal extraction that much more difficult, inefficient, expensive and environmentally demanding.
BiotaTec developed BiotaMet, a novel 2-step bio-leaching solution for mining/metallurgy and recycling industries, to achieve maximum valorisation of low-grade ores, tailings, wastes and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). It uses a unique combination of heterotrophic microorganisms and methanogens, that have been adapted to biodegrade and extract metal compounds ores. The process is highly efficient, works at neutral pH, generates clean waste and simultaneously produces methane gas for energy generation. The 2-steps of the process feed each other for material and heat energy, making the process self-sufficient. It reduces the dependence on high-grade metal ores, and is able to achieve metal yield rates of 86-97% (compared to 70-80% for traditional methods) with low-grade ores and wastes. BiotaMet is expected to reduce the energy requirement of metal extraction by 40% and provide additional annual revenue estimation of > €7.3 million for mining companies and > €5 million for WEEE recycling companies.
With the EIC accelerator phase 00 project, BiotaTec would focus on optimizing the technology for four specific raw materials, and on the construction of large bioreactors at their bio-mining center. Lab-scale and industry-scale pilots would ensure validation and demonstration of BiotaMet. Based on the market introduction strategy, BiotaTec would focus on commercializing BiotaMet technology across Europe, Canada and Jordan.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/waste management/recycling

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

SME-2b - SME Instrument (grant only and blended finance)


Maealuse 4
12618 Tallin
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 2 303 468,13