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

Project description

Green mining processes with the help of microorganisms

Low-grade ores and metal waste are essential raw materials in the mining industry. However, they contain large deposits of complex organic compounds that render metal extraction difficult and inefficient. Moreover, metal extraction consumes a lot of energy, releases toxic gases and generates acidic waste. The BiotaMet solution aims to achieve maximum valorisation of low-grade ores, tailings, wastes and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). To that end, it uses a unique combination of heterotrophic microorganisms and methanogens that are adapted to biodegrade and extract metal compounds ores. The EU-funded BiotaMet project will optimise the solution for four specific raw materials, focussing on the construction of large bioreactors at their bio-mining centre. The project will effectuate lab-level and industry-scale pilots to validate and demonstrate the solution and prepare it for commercialisation.

Objective

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.

Call for proposal

H2020-EIC-SMEInst-2018-2020

See other projects for this call

Sub call

H2020-EIC-SMEInst-2018-2020-4

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Coordinator

BIOTATEC OU
Net EU contribution
€ 2 303 468,13
Address
Maealuse 4
12618 Tallin
Estonia

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Eesti Eesti Põhja-Eesti
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Links
Other funding
€ 987 200,62