SubsTer® - Transforming quarry tailings into fertile ground

Type of organisation or company
Jarville la Malgrange
Language for original content
Key Area
Project elaborated in partnership
Submitted by
Institut de l'économie circulaire
Start/End date
Type of funding

SubsTer® is a geotechnical engineering process that recreates fertile ground from tailings. It can be used to recover unused materials and to create substitute farmland for crops or landscape without stripping soil from existing fields.

SubsTer® produces substitute soil from quarry tailings and unsold production, leveraging unique expertise derived from both: a transfer of technology developed by INRA, CNRS and the University of Lorraine's Soil and Environment laboratory (UMR 1120) and a unique experience in The Middle East (UAE) to create soils in arid desertic areas to reduce water consumption.

SubsTer® uses transmission electron microscopy to characterise soils in order to recreate living earth. This process regenerates soil by focussing its formulation activities on the micro-aggregation of mineral tailings with organic matter that has microbial potential suited to the needs of each deposit. This process yields healthy living land that has not been obtained by depleting farmland and is not of variable quality as often the case with brownfield land. SubsTer® land is provided with an agronomic certificate attesting to its quality and harmlessness.

Main results

The contracts already signed represent a potential equivalent of 600 ha of safeguarded and newly created land.

Considering all soil types together, carbon emissions average 74 t per hectare in France. Accordingly, the SubsTer contracts agreed during the launch year, will theoretically generate savings of 600 ha x 74 t= 44,400 t of organic carbon.

SubsTer also delivers savings in terms of inert waste storage volumes equivalent to 1.2 million tonnes, based on the contracts signed over the first year of operation.