METGROW+ publishes a Social License to Operate Policy Brief

In collaboration with ETN SOCRATES, METGROW+ has published a Social License to Operate Policy Brief (download here) to reflect the key discussions that took place in the Symposium on Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy – the Social License to Operate for the Mining and Recycling of Critical Metals took place in Leuven, Belgium on 21 February 2018. The document discusses the Five Lessons Learned with respect to the Social License to Operate for the mining and recycling of critical metals, essential for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

As lessons learned, it should be highlighted the still existing distance of recycling efficiencies for many critical metals until reaching their real potential, the necessity of primary mining for the transition to a low carbon economy, the inevitable dependence of Europe on imports for some elements such as cobalt, the need of the mining industry to improve its trust, and the endorsement of the concept of the Social License to Operate (SLO) by the European Commission


METGROW+ meetings organised by VITO and JMR in Hasselt, Belgium

METGROW+ meetings were organized 31/1-2/2/2018 by VITO and JMR in Hasselt, Belgium. First, the partners had the possibility to visit the industrial landfill site of Remo operated by the consortium partner JMR (Group Machiels). Chromium-rich samples from this site have been studied in the METGROW+ project. Further, the developed technological solutions for chromium-rich sludges will be validated at the Remo site. Daneel Geysen from Group Machiels gave an introduction to the mining activities of the region and he also explained, how Group Machiels handles the metal containing industrial residues.

As next, the partners visited VITO’s research facilities in Mol. Liesbeth Horckmans showed column experiments, which are used in the project to simulate heap leaching (left). Fero Kukurugya explained ways to process automotive shredder residues (right). Ruben Snellings has valorized solid residues to be used in construction materials (middle).

After the site visits to JMR and VITO, Christina Meskers from Umicore gave an inspirational presentation, how results from laboratory scale can be brought to industrial scale (left). In the flow sheet meetings, complete flow sheets were identified for different METGROW+ materials. The outcomes of the flow sheet meetings will also give input to the validation steps and METGROW+ toolbox development. Andrea di Anselmo from META Group held an exploitation seminar for the consortium and his advice related to exploitation were firmly taken on board (right).


METGROW+ was presented in the 4th PROMETIA Scientific Seminar

METGROW+ was presented by the Coordinator Päivi Kinnunen (VTT) in the 4th PROMETIA Scientific Seminar held on 28-29 November in Barcelona, Spain. The seminar focused on “Raw Materials Flexibility”, which is in the core of the METGROW+ concept. The METGROW+ toolbox and idea raised a lot of interest and resulted in interesting discussions during the event.

The presentation entitled “METGROW+ approach to flexible raw material production” is available here.


METGROW+ invited pupils from Messukylä school to learn about raw materials

Two groups of pupils from Messukylä primary school in Tampere visited VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland to learn about the importance of raw materials and their production methods on 6th and 13th October 2017.These pupils have selected Science as their elective course lead by teacher Tuomas Hautaniemi.

The groups visited research laboratories and pilot halls in order to experience, how the research in raw materials sector is done in practice. Despite the young age, the pupils had already significant knowledge about renewable and non-renewable raw materials, and they made actively questions during the visits. According to teacher Tuomas Hautaniemi, raw materials and environmental issues such as recycling are included in the teaching program of primary schools in Finland and visits to local organizations can give more insight into the important topic.


METGROW+ WP3 progress and WP3-WP4 cooperation meetings were held in Espoo, Finland, 2nd-3rd May 2017

The two-day effort was given to the design of leaching and metal recovery technology combinations material by material. Building on the interactive feedback from participants, the result was a process map for METGROW+ materials. It includes existing metal extraction and recovery unit operations tailored for low-grade resources, as well as novel unit operations specifically designed for low-value materials. In addition, participants visited the laboratories and pilot facilities of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

21st-23rd February 2017 – Third Progress Meeting Barcelona

Following the progress meeting in Chania (September 2016), the third METGROW+ meeting was held in Barcelona, Spain (February 21-23, 2017).

WP_20170223_10_55_01_Pro_ABDuring the WP meeting the first results were presented concerning the preprocessing, pyro-, hydro-, solvo-, electro-, iono- and biohydrometallurgical technologies to valorise the four generic resources. The development of the METGROW+ toolbox methodology was presented. Key attention also went out to the METGROW+ exploitation strategy and the principles of Open Access (detailed presentation can be found here).

Concurrently, in Barcelona the official METGROW+ Advisory Board was officially kick-started. Dr. Justin Salminen (Research Manager, Boliden, pictured on the left) and Prof. Anthimos Xenidis (CEO LARCO, pictured on the right) provided a thorough feedback on the project progress. Corina Hebestreit (Director of Euromines), the 3rd AB Member, was excused for the meeting. The main message from the AB Members was to not underestimate the challenges when integrating the distinct metallurgical unit operations into workable flow sheets for the specific waste materials and the low-grade laterites.

metgrow_barcelona_meeting_feb_2017This advice was taken firmly on board as the Third Progress Meeting also involved an extensive workshop on February 23, 2017, in which the technology combinations were discussed in depth. This was done per generic resource family, in order to develop feasible, cost-effective flow sheets per material. From now on METGROW+ will include Working Groups per generic resource family, integrating unit operations, transversally, along the Work Packages.

20th-22nd September 2016 – First bi-annual meeting

The second face-to-face METGROW+ meeting was held in Chania, Crete, 20-22.9.2016, to discuss the project progress. The METGROW+ project has proceeded as foreseen with material sampling, deliveries and characterization.  The comminution, beneficiation and upgrading work has started for the METGROW+ materials, as well as leaching processes development. Methodologies, such as the goal and scope, system boundaries, functional unit, the tool to use for flow sheet modelling and the decision support framework were discussed. The first deliverables related to the ethics requirements, dissemination and material characterization have been delivered. After the Work Package and General Assembly meetings, partners also had the possibility to visit the laboratories of the Technical University of Crete with Professor Konstantinos Komnitsas.

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Left: METGROW+ partners at Technical University of Crete; Right: Prof. Konstantinos Komnitsas during the visit to Technical Univeristy of Crete facilities.

16th February 2016 – METGROW+ Kick off meeting in Helsinki (Finland)

The MetGROW+ consortium has met in Helsinki in order to kick off the project. Partners discussed main technical issues through the presentation of the activities in each WP. Administrative and financial aspects were covered by the coordinator VTT and the External experts Advisory Board was elected. Work to be done during the project first semester was scheduled and discussions about the sources to be treated in the project and their provision were maintained as well. Finally, a special slot in the agenda was reserved for technical discussions between participants of each WP.