Biorecover Project: biotechnology for selective extraction of critical raw materials

Type of organisation or company
A Coruña
Language for original content
Type of funding
Rebeca Varela

The overall objective of BIORECOVER is the research and development of a new sustainable process, essentially based on biotechnology, for selective extraction of critical raw materials (CRMs) from relevant unexploited secondary and primary sources:

  • EE (Rare Earths) coming from Bauxite Residue (BR)
  • Mg (Magnesium) contained in Mg wastes of low grade minerals with silicon or limestone impurities & calcination by-products- (MgW)
  • PGM (Platinum Group Metals) included in PGM low-grade ores consisting in flotation tailings (PLGO) & PGM slags, dusts and press cake (PCBP)

BIORECOVER is based on the integration of 3 main stages to reach the expected recovery rates (90%), selectivity (95%) and purity (99%):

  • Pre-Treatment – removal of major impurities to achieve the greater availability of the target metals for their recovery.
  • Treatment – mobilisation of metals through specific and improved microorganisms to get a leachate enriched with the target CRMs.
  • Post-Treatment - Development of a specific technology for recovering metals with high selectivity and purity, for reuse in several applications such as brakes pads, oxygen sensors, powder Mg and catalysts.

Main results

Expected results from the Project:

  • Generate know-how through patents & publications
  • Increase process selectivity, broader range & higher recovery rates of valuable raw materials
  • Increase economic performance and competitiveness of the recovery process
  • Improve health, safety & environmental performances of operations