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Development of an innovative sustainable strategy for selective biorecover of critical raw materials from Primary and Secondary sources

Project description

Biorecovery of critical raw materials

Europe depends almost 100 % on imports from China, South Africa and Russia for rare earths, magnesium and metals from the platinum group. The EU-funded BIORECOVER project will develop a sustainable and safe process based on biotechnology for the selective extraction of a range of critical raw materials from primary and unexplored secondary sources. The process will be based on the integration of three main stages to reach the expected recovery rate (90 %), selectivity (95 %) and purity (99 %): metal impurity removal, metal mobilisation through microorganisms, and metal recovery. To achieve its aims, the project has established a multidisciplinary consortium covering the whole value chain from seven different countries.


The objective of BIORECOVER is the R&D of a new sustainable & safe process, essentially based on biotechnology, for selective extraction of a range of Critical Raw Materials, from relevant unexploited secondary & primary sources:
-Rare Earths from Bauxite Residue from Greece (MYTILINEOS)
-Magnesium from Mg wastes of low grade minerals and calcination by-products- from Spain (MAGNA)
-Platinum Group Metals from flotation tailings from South Africa (UWITS) & PGM slags, dusts and press cake from United Kingdom (JM)
To this end, BIORECOVER will be based on the integration of 3 main stages to reach the expected recovery rates (90%), selectivity (95%) & purity (99%) (TRL from 2-3 to 5):
(1) Remove the major impurities presents in raw materials sources to achieve the greater availability of the target metals for their recovery.
(2) Mobilise these metals through specific and improved microorganisms to get a leachate enriched with the target CRMs.
(3) Development of a specific technology for recovering metals with high selectivity & purity that meet the quality requirements for its reuse.
Downstream processes will be also studied of the recovered metals for their reuse (brakes pads, oxygen sensors, powder Mg & catalysts). The different stages of the process provide it modular capacity increasing its adaptation flexibility and thus, further market penetration.
LCA & LCC and a Decision Making Framework will support these aims. The awareness, trust & acceptance of the society about the importance of raw materials will be addressed by an awareness campaign and public perception studies. The project results will contribute to EU bio-mining knowledge (RMIS) and a communication with other key project will be also set up.
To achieve this ambitious project, a multidisciplinary consortium covering the whole value chain (from suppliers to end users) will be involved, being represented 7 member states across EU (ES, DK, FR, LE, PT, SE & UK) and effective international cooperation with ZA

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 810 781,25
Parque empresarial alvedro, calle h numero 20
15180 Culleredo

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Noroeste Galicia A Coruña
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (14)