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Sustainable processing of Europe's low-grade sulphidic and lateritic nickel/cobalt ores and tailings into battery-grade metals

Objective

The cobalt (Co) and nickel (Ni) demand is expected to be about 20 times higher in 2040 than in 2020. Given that Europe plays only a minor role in the global Ni/Co supply chains, which are concentrated in the DRC, Indonesia and China, we face a serious problem in securing a reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of battery-grade Ni/Co, vital for Europe’s aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. In view of a “domestic and foreign sourcing” procurement model, ENICON exploits the potential of (low-grade) Ni/Co resources within Europe – i.e. sulphidic Ni/Co ores and derived Ni/Co-bearing pyrite and silicate tailings, and limonitic/saprolitic laterite Ni(/Co) ores – while improving and developing the Ni/Co-refining capacity that can process imported ores, concentrates and intermediates. ENICON comprises both major improvements to existing Ni/Co metallurgical unit operations in Europe as well as the development of a new HCl-based route for both Ni/Co sulphide concentrates and laterites. ENICON’s HCl-route dispenses with the old-school hydro-approach of continuously precipitating and redissolving metals that requires lots of chemicals and creates problematic waste streams. The HCl-based route can be extended to the downstream processing of FeNi (Class-II Ni) obtained from laterites; (2) Mixed (Ni/Co) Sulphide/Hydroxide Precipitate (MSP/MHP) from the bioleaching of Co-rich pyrite tailings; and Ni/Co-containing silicate tailings. ENICON targets a “forensic geometallurgy” protocol, making it possible to identify and mitigate the mineralogical and textural reasons for processing losses along existing and new flowsheets. To make the transition to (near) zero-waste processing and to further reduce CO2-footprints, ENICON develops enhanced mineral-matrix valorisation processes. The outputs from ENICON’s group of European Ni/Co mining, processing and refining companies will all be benchmarked in terms of positive environmental and techno-economic impacts against current methods.

Coordinator

KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 575 250,00
Address
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven
Belgium

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Region
Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00

Participants (7)

AALTO KORKEAKOULUSAATIO SR
Finland
Net EU contribution
€ 807 770,00
Address
Otakaari 1
02150 Espoo

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Region
Manner-Suomi Helsinki-Uusimaa Helsinki-Uusimaa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
POLYTECHNEIO KRITIS
Greece
Net EU contribution
€ 667 250,00
Address
Building E4, Technical University Campus Counoupidiana
731 00 Chania

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Region
Χανιά Κρήτη Νησιά Αιγαίου
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
VLAAMSE INSTELLING VOOR TECHNOLOGISCH ONDERZOEK N.V.
Belgium
Net EU contribution
€ 761 250,00
Address
Boeretang 200
2400 Mol

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Region
Vlaams Gewest Prov. Antwerpen Arr. Turnhout
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
BOLIDEN MINERAL AB
Sweden
Net EU contribution
€ 1 021 780,00
Address
.
932 81 Skelleftehamn

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Region
Norra Sverige Övre Norrland Västerbottens län
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
BOLIDEN HARJAVALTA OY
Finland
Net EU contribution
€ 337 500,00
Address
Teollisuuskatu 1
29200 Harjavalta

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Region
Manner-Suomi Länsi-Suomi Satakunta
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
GLENCORE NIKKELVERK AS
Norway
Net EU contribution
€ 610 437,00
Address
Vesterveien 31
4606 Kristiansand

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Region
Norge Agder og Sør-Østlandet Agder
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,50
GENIKI METALLEUTIKI KAI METALLOURGIKI ANONIMI ETAIRIA - (GENERAL MINING AND METALLURGICAL COMPANY S.A. )
Greece
Net EU contribution
€ 238 000,00
Address
Fragkokklisias Str 27
15125 Marousi Athina

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Region
Βόρειος Τομέας Αθηνών Aττική Αττική
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00