The new Horizon 2020-funded project, ION4RAW (ionometallurgy of primary sources for an enhanced raw materials recovery) will run for four years and involves thirteen partners from six countries across Europe as well as the United Kingdom and Peru. Coordinated by IDENER, it gathers SMEs, research and technical organisations and innovation actors.
ION4RAW will develop a new energy- and material-efficient mineral processing technology to recover by-products from primary sources by means of innovative Deep Eutectic Solvent (DES) ionic liquids and advanced electro-recovery as an only step.
Most of the targeted by-products elements are Critical Raw Materials such as bismuth (Bi), germanium (Ge), indium (In), cobalt (Co), platinum (Pt) and antimony (Sb). Accompanying major product metals, e.g. copper (Cu), silver (Ag) and gold (Au), may also be recovered by this process.
The technical feasibility of this concept is supported by the technology readiness level (TRL) of 2-3 requiring research to prove feasibility. From this starting point, the ION4RAW project aims to reach TRL
5 by implementing a process prototype by tapping into the competencies of the consortium members.
In addition, the project has a promising business potential since it will allow mining and mineral processing companies to fully exploit by-product potential by recovering them at their own facilities. This will eventually contribute to the EIP Raw Materials Strategic Implementation Plan, unlocking the full potential of Europe’s inner wealth by converting new and currently unexploited resources into reserves.
The project’s partners met on 13-14 June 2019 in Seville (Spain) to officially launch the project and review the objectives and work plan. The kick-off meeting ended with partners collectively brainstorming on the expected benefits and impacts of the project.
The partners are: Idener (Spain), BRGM (France), Rina Consulting (Italy), Cumbres Explotaciones (Perú), HZDR (Germany), LGI (France), Lurederra (Spain, PNO (Belgium), Scotgol Resources (United Kingdom), SINTEF (Norway), Tecnalia (Spain), Technische Universistat Bergakademie Freiberg (Germany) and Wardell Amstrong (United Kingdom).
ION4RAW has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under Grant Agreement 815748.
The ION4RAW website will be released soon at www.ion4raw.eu.