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Biorecover Project: biotechnology for selective extraction of critical raw materials

Type of organisation or company:

A Coruña

Language for original content:

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