Advancing Collaborative Solutions: Highlights from the METNET Meeting

Advancing Collaborative Solutions: Highlights from the METNET Meeting

METNET, a collaborative network of European research institutes specializing in pilot-scale testing for extractive metallurgy and mineral processing, recently convened for a pivotal meeting aimed at fostering innovation and addressing common challenges in the industry. Hosted by the esteemed CIME – Orano facilities, the gathering saw participation from several members representing a spectrum of expertise and perspectives. The participants included representatives from BRGM, CEA, CRM Group, ELKEM, ERAMET, Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals (IMN), Materials Processing Institute UK, Orano, Swerim and the University of Liège.

METNET Meeting at Orano

The meeting kicked off with an insightful overview provided by Patrick d’Hugues (BRGM), lead of the Metnet Working Group, offering a retrospective glance at METNET’s previous accomplishments and laying the groundwork for the discussions ahead. Partners engaged in a round-table dialogue, exchanging insights on their ongoing R&D activities and showcasing their respective facilities’ capabilities.

Identifying Common Challenges

During the discussions, several common themes emerged, reflecting the shared challenges faced by the participants. Key areas of focus included decarbonization of processes, leveraging hydrogen technologies, optimizing waste management, enhancing water utilization efficiency, and tackling the complexities of managing fine particles across various scales.

Charting a Path Forward

Amidst the exchange of ideas, METNET partners collectively delineated a strategic roadmap to harness synergies and maximize impact. Among the proposed initiatives were:

  • Enhanced Visibility: Leveraging METNET as a platform to enhance visibility, attract potential clients, and forge new partnerships through targeted campaigns and dedicated webinars.
  • Networking and Collaboration: Stimulating collaboration both within and beyond METNET, with an emphasis on leveraging annual seminars as catalysts for innovation and partnership building.
  • Policy and Programs: Contributing to EU research and development agendas, advocating for the integration of industry insights, and potentially serving as expert groups to facilitate policy implementation.
  • Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange: Establishing mechanisms for sharing training resources and facilitating short-term technical exchanges among METNET members.

Decisive Actions and Next Steps

The meeting concluded with decisive actions and commitments aimed at operationalizing the proposed strategies:

  • Leadership Transition: Christa Nimbona of Elkem assumed leadership of the METNET Working Group, poised to drive its agenda forward.
  • Upcoming Events: METNET secured a session at the 2024 PROMETIA Scientific Seminar, highlighting its role in shaping industry discourse.

Towards a Collaborative Future

As METNET enters its next phase under new leadership, the recent meeting has energised the joint effort to push the boundaries of minerals processing, extractive metallurgy and recycling. With the recent passage of the CRM Act giving political weight to its endeavours, METNET is in a stable framework ready for effective collaboration and innovation. This sets the stage for METNET to move towards a future that is not only sustainable, but also successful for the industry.

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