Thursday, 2 June 2016

In brief: Towards a circular economy; Women in Mining Speed Monitoring; Summer biomining school; Recent comments

On the pathway towards a circular economy
In three weeks time at Sustainable Minerals '16, MEI consultant Prof. Markus Reuter, of Helmholtz Institute for Resource Technology, Germany, will explain how the EU has recently adopted an ambitious Circular Economy (CE) package. This CE plan covers the whole cycle from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The action plan aims at "closing the loop" of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and envisages bringing benefits for both the environment and the economy.
Recycling forms the heart of the CE system. Ultimately all products will have to be recycled at their End-of-Life (EoL). For these reasons, finding ways to maximise the recovery of materials from EoL products while at the same time lowering the environmental footprint of our collective existence and therefore lowering greenhouse gas emissions is a vital priority to a CE.
Markus was formerly with Outotec, one of the conference sponsors, and recently ranked the world's 3rd most sustainable company. As if to set the scene for Markus's presentation, Dr. Susanna Horn, Manager Life Cycle Model Development with Outotec explains in a recent article that the currently still dominant linear economy model – take, make, dispose – means that all the resources are taken from the natural environment, processed, used, and at the end of the usable life time, disposed of as waste, known as a cradle-to-grave model. This means that after first usage, the used resources are not generating any more value, merely becoming a source of emissions and the resource-depletion is accelerated at a growing pace. The circular economy model, however, is built on the assumption that our natural resources, i.e. materials used, can circulate in the technosphere for longer, even perpetual periods of time, therefore generating value for more than just one product’s life cycle. Dr. Horn details Outotec's current interesting portfolio of solutions, which can enhance the circular economy.
Women in Mining Speed Mentoring in Cornwall
On the evening of Wednesday 22nd June, prior to Sustainable Minerals '16, and at the end of Biohydromet '16, Women in Mining (UK) is organising a speed mentoring evening facilitating early career professional development in the mining sector. At these speed mentoring evenings, women are given the opportunity to meet with “mentors” over an informal dinner to discuss their professional development goals and aspirations. All discussions remain confidential amongst the participants. If you are interested in participating, either as a mentor (male or female) or mentee, please provide a short biography (1–2 paragraphs) outlining your experience and professional goals to: marking the e-mail “Mentoring Evening – Falmouth”. Successful applicants will be provided event details upon acceptance.

SysMetEx Summer School in Biomining
Many of the eminent speakers at Biohydromet '16 will also be presenting current progress in the biomining field to PhD students from EU countries at the SysMetEx summer school in Freiberg, Germany in August.
The mining and processing of sulfide minerals is subject to ever increasing national and European Union environmental regulations. As a result, environmentally friendly techniques, such as biomining, must be developed to meet the increased European demand for metals. Biomining exploits acidophilic microorganisms for the recovery of metals from sulfide ores in tanks, heaps, and dumps. Bioleaching of chalcopyrite (the largest copper resource in the world) is carried out in engineered heaps, and accounts for approximately 15% of the present world copper production.
The SysMetEx project uses a combination of approaches to investigate and model a critical stage in biomining of sulfide ores, the formation of a biofilm on the mineral surface that leads to metal release from the ore.
Recent Comments
There have been comments on the following posts since the last alert (Thursday 26 May):
Twitter @barrywills


  1. I am extremely happy that the focus is on "closing the loop"-- a badly needed initiative.
    I am sure the talk by Prof.Markus Reauter would be of great interest and give a road map for the future of all activities related to minerals.

  2. Dear Barry,

    it is great to see the visibility of the Freiberg Research Environment in this recent post with the really important Topics of circular economy and biotechnology in mining. I am sure that both conferences will be great. Just got back from Falmouth and CSM after my very first visit in Cornwall on the ocassion of a Project Meeting (Horizon 2020 "OptimOre" It was a great though very lengthy trip. The area very much reminds me of the Ore Mountains area in Germany with all ist mining history only that we're missing those wonderful beaches.

    1. Thanks Martin. Next time you are in Falmouth give me a call, as I am only 15 minutes away from CSM


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