Throwback to PROMETIA’s Tech Tour 2021

Throwback to PROMETIA’s Tech Tour 2021

20 young researchers and students from 10 countries

PROMETIA 2021 Tech Tour gave 20 young researchers and students from 10 countries the opportunity to meet and exchange with their counterparts from 29 November to 1st December in the industrial and academic surroundings of Seville, Spain. The Chairman of PROMETIA’s Executive Committee (ExCom), Stéphane Bourg from CEA, a PROMETIA ExCom member, Yongxiang Yang, Professor in Extractive Metallurgy and Recycling at TU Delft, and Fanny David from the PROMETIA Secretariat, accompanied the group during the three-day tour.

In this Tech Tour edition participants visited different mining and metallurgical facilities in the provinces of Seville and Huelva.

Mining areas of the TINTO and ODIEL rivers

On the first day the group took a guided tour to the mining areas of the TINTO and ODIEL rivers. Two professors from the University of Huelva accompanied participants and explained them their work to reduce the pollution present in the rivers. A series of cascading basins are being used to store the polluted water and purify it by removing the heavy metals present in it. This purifying system works without energy obtaining in the end water with a normal pH. The objective is to make this water suitable for irrigation in the agriculture.

In the afternoon the group went to University of Huelva where they attended a short scientific seminar on recovery of CRMs in the precipitates from the naturally polluted water treatment, and an introduction to the ION4RAW project by Idener.

Atlantic Copper facilities


In the morning of the 30th, participants were invited to visit the Atlantic Copper facilities. Atlantic Cooper is a Spanish company that produces high-grade refined copper from ore mined in various parts of the world. During the visit the group learned about the company and the complete copper extraction and production process. Company representatives also explained that the demand and production of copper is growing rapidly due to the energy transition and its mineral requirements. Participants were also able to see how fire-refined molten copper is cast into molds to form the anodes for the final electro-refining.

In the afternoon the group stopped at the newly created EIT RawMaterials Hub in “Casa de las Ciencias” in Seville. This EIT RawMaterials Hub – Regional Center Southern Spain opened its doors on 5 October 2021 with the objective of increasing the presence of EIT RawMaterials in the south of Spain, addressing all topics of EIT RawMaterials with special attention to primary raw materials exploration, extraction and processing. Participants attended several presentations on the EIT RawMaterials and some of the programmes they have for young people. After the presentations the group visited the permanent exhibition GeoSeville, a visual history of the geological processes which have occurred on our planet, from the Palaeozoic era until today.

The morning of the last day was dedicated to the visit of RECILEC, a leading company in management and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). After receiving a comprehensive company presentation by the host, participants had the opportunity to follow a guided tour of the factory with various mechanical dismantling and separation processes. In the plant they also saw the different areas dedicated to each type of collected EoL equipment and devices, the recovered materials (steel and non-ferrous scrap, and plastic scrap), and the refurbished products warehouse where different used electrical and electronic equipment are adapted to form a new product.

Two participants shared their impressions on the Tech Tour and the PROMETIA Scientific Seminar with us:

Adeline Po, BRGM/LGC, France – PhD student specialised in bio hydrometallurgy

Adeline Po, BRGM/LGC

What did you think of the Tech Tour? Which visit did you enjoy the most?

The whole Tech Tour was nice with a friendly environment. I greatly appreciated the exchanges with other participants working on different topics.

The visit I enjoyed the most was the one to Rio Tinto and Rio Odiel because it gave me the possibility to see in real life what I had previously read in the papers.




The PROMETIA Tech Tour in three words

Interesting, instructive because we learn about different topics in the field, and friendly because participants are open-minded and interested in exchanging views.

How did you get to know the PROMETIA association?

My thesis director and co-director have participated in some PROMETIA activities and they informed me of this opportunity to present my work at the PROMETIA Scientific Seminar and participate in the Tech Tour.

How was the experience of presenting at the PROMETIA Seminar? Would you recommend other young researchers to participate in this kind of activities?

It was a bit stressful at first, but as PhD students it is a great opportunity to make our work visible in front of experienced professionals in the field. I would definitely recommend it to other young researchers.

Thomas Neron, LGC, France – PhD student specialised in modelling multiphase reactor

Thomas Neron, LGC

What did you think of the Tech Tour? Which visit did you enjoy the most?

The Tech Tour was very well organised and it gave us the opportunity to talk to participants that work on other subjects and therefore learn new things.

The best activity for me was the visit to Rio Tinto and Odiel where we were able to see for ourselves the natural pollution of the rivers, but also the human impact on the environment. We also had the opportunity to see an open-pit mining which was very nice.



The PROMETIA Tech Tour in three words

Enlightening, instructive and interesting.

How did you get to know the PROMETIA association?

Through colleagues working at the Chemical Engineering Laboratory (LGC) that told me about this opportunity.

How was the experience of presenting at the PROMETIA Seminar? Would you recommend other young researchers to participate in this kind of activities?

An enriching professional and personal experience that I would strongly recommend to other PhD students. I very much enjoyed presenting my work, not only to researchers, but also to industry members.



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