The project

Building upon its EIP RMC status and its core role in EIT Raw Materials, METGROW+ develops an industrially viable, flexible “New Metallurgical Systems” Toolbox, which consists of a broad range of already existing and newly developed “metallurgical unit operations”. The unit operations follow a value-chain approach, from pre-treatment, to metal extraction, metal recovery and (residual) matrix valorisation. The industrially-driven, interdisciplinary METGROW+ consortium involves all relevant stakeholders along the value chain, from the (upstream) pretreatment to the final (downstream) residual matrix valorisation in building materials.

The novelty of METGROW+ is twofold:

  • (1) The systems approach (toolbox) to couple the individual unit operations, so as to obtain the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly flow sheet for a given low-grade resource,
  • (2) The development of several new metallurgical unit operations (incl. bio-, solvo- and plasma operations). METGROW+ demonstrates and validates the New Metallurgical Systems Toolbox for a multitude of low-grade resources in the EU-28.

To do this, four low-grade resource families were selected. These are:

  • (1) Primary nickel-cobalt laterite deposits,
  • (2) Iron-rich sludges from the zinc industry,
  • (3) Chromium-rich sludges from the stainless steel industry and
  • (4) Fayalitic slags from non-ferrous metallurgy.

The metals valorised from these sources include both economically important metals (Ni, Zn, Cu) and critical metals (In, Ga, Ge, Sb, Co and Cr).

Subsequently to the project and in cooperation with EIT Raw  Materials, the “New Metallurgical Systems” toolbox is deployed far beyond the EU Member States directly involved in METGROW+, leading to improved competitiveness and new jobs in the metallurgical and downstream industries, while achieving the objectives of the EIP on Raw Materials.