PROMETIA’s Scientific Seminar, held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 28 to 30 November 2023, was a great success, bringing together experts, industry leaders and members of the PROMETIA community. The event discussed critical topics such as raw material supply risks, innovative R&D projects for CRM production and valuable insights into pilot activities.

Day 1 – Global view on EU raw materials production challenges

The seminar’s kickoff unfolded with a warm welcome from PROMETIA President Stéphane Bourg, accompanied by Vice-President and Host, Alexandra Ribeiro, and Chairman Patrick d’Hugues. Milan Grohol from the European Commission provided valuable insights into the Critical Raw Materials Act, highlighting its transition to R&D programmes. He underscored the imperative for innovation, emphasising the necessity of developing competitive technological solutions that prioritise lower energy consumption, reduced waste, and enhanced water management. The day’s presentations covered a range of important topics, including Ana Carina Verissimo’s insights into EIT RawMaterials’ strategy, Dina Carrilho’s exploration of Era-Min’s role in raw materials R&D and Marina Cabidoche’s explanation of ETP SMR’s strategic research and innovation agenda. In addition, Luís Martins, Anders Sand and Slavko Šolar led interesting discussions on strengthening ecosystems in EU mining, strategies for responsible mining and the central role of beneficiation in UNFC classification. These wide-ranging discussions not only characterised the course of the seminar, but also laid the foundations for talks on innovation, sustainability and the future of raw materials.

The first day ended with the General Assembly and the election of the new Executive Committee. We extend a warm welcome to all re-elected and newly elected members and eagerly anticipate fruitful collaborations ahead: Fidel Grandia Borràs (Amphos 21), Patrick d’Hugues (BRGM), Marie Bouvet dit Marechal (CEA ISEC), Christian Ekberg (Chalmers), Gro Eide (Elkem), Marco De La Feld (ENCO), Marion LENOIR (Eramt), Jason Yang (GTK), Witold Kurylak (IMN), Peter Tom Jones (SIM2 KU Leuven), Lena Sundqvist (Swerim) & David Bastin (Liège University).

Day 2 – Collaborative projects supporting the production of CRM, sustainable processes, and the green/energy transition

The second day of the seminar was marked by an exploration of pivotal research issues, covering topics from decarbonising metal production to unlocking the potential of metallurgical by-products and introducing innovative non-ferrous metals enrichment technologies. Discussions also delved into sustainable processes, green energy initiatives, and advancements in critical raw materials production. The agenda featured presentations on hydrogen utilisation for the green transition, circular batteries, and advanced rare earth element resources and extraction studies. The day culminated in a workshop addressing current challenges in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy, and recycling, setting the stage for PROMETIA’s position paper in connection with Horizon Europe and the CRMAct, animated by Patrick d’Hugues and PROMETIA secretary.

Key Highlights:

  • Decarbonisation Initiatives: Insights into pathways for reducing the carbon footprint in metal production industries. (Xianfeng Hu, Swerim)
  • Resource Valorisation: Exploring the potential of metallurgical by-products through comparative Exergy Analysis. (Elena Mikeli, NTUA)
  • AI-Driven Innovations: Unveiling non-ferrous metals enrichment technologies empowered by artificial intelligence. (Waldemar Mijał, IMN)
  • Green Transition Strategies: Addressing the role of hydrogen and piloting for a sustainable shift in the metallurgical industry. (Guozhu Ye, Swerim)
  • Circular Battery Initiatives: Introduction to the Dutch National Growth Fund and its circular batteries project. (Shoshan Abrahami, TU Delft)
  • Rare Earth Element Advancements: Investigating advanced resources & extraction studies for rare earth elements. (Jason Yang & Xuan Liu, GTK)
  • Lithium Recovery Solutions: RELiEF project & lithium recovery from secondary raw materials. (Joana Almeida, NOVA University Lisbon)
  • Remediation Focus: Spotlight on EDM’s contribution to remediating old mining areas. (Speakers: Frederico Martins and Catarina Diamantino, EDM)
  • Innovative Recycling: Challenges & opportunities in recycling man-made minerals from the urban mine. (David Bastin, Liège University)
  • Critical Metals Circularity: Recovery of antimony and bismuth from arsenic-containing waste streams (Jose Luis Cortina, UPC)
  • Valomag Project: BRGM’s contribution to the recovery of rare earth from permanent magnets. (Yannick Menard, BRGM)
  • Green Alternatives for Battery Recycling: Environmentally friendly alternatives for lithium-ion battery recycling. (Albert Martínez Torrents, Eurecat)
  • Sustainable Tantalum Recovery: A low-cost and sustainable process for the recovery of tantalum. (Camila Mori de Oliveira, POLITO)
  • Eco-Glass-Fabrication: The EcoGlassFab initiative showcasing eco-friendly glass fabrication from secondary materials. (Sophie Schuller, CEA)

This comprehensive overview encapsulates the diverse and impactful discussions that shaped the second day of the seminar. For more in-depth details, we invite you to access the presentations of the speakers.

Day 3 – Piloting activities – METNET presentations

The PROMETIA Scientific Seminar 2023 concluded on a high note with a spotlight on METNET, PROMETIA’s collaborative network of European pilot plants. The day featured updates on pilot-scale research projects, with Tadeusz Gorewoda from Łukasiewicz – Institute of NonFerrous Metals, Florent Sassi from Séché Environnement presenting MAXIBROME, and Bernard Vanderheyden from CRM Group introducing a unique pilot-scale plasma furnace for circular economy and energy transition. Anne-Gwénaëlle Guezennec from BRGM discussed the bioleaching of mineral processing waste, while Xu Junhua from GTK shared insights on the Mintec Water Pilot. Alan Scholes from the Materials Processing Institute elaborated on steps towards net zero, and Elkem’s Gro Eide and Christa Nimbona focused on recycling of waste materials. The day also highlighted Aurélie Amalric from Eramet, discussing the contribution of pilot tools at EID toward lower environmentally impacting processes, with a focus on manganese sinter. As participants explored the recycling of waste materials, the seminar wrapped up with a thank you to all contributors, leaving a lasting impact on the advancement of extractive metallurgy and materials recycling.

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