SIM² KU Leuven is delighted to announce that the four-year Horizon 2020 NEMO project, which stands for the “Near-zero-waste recycling of low-grade sulphidic mining waste for critical-metal, mineral and construction raw-material production in a circular economy”, has been approved by the European Commission. (PTJ, Leuven, 26-1-2018)

NEMO is coordinated by VTT (Finland) and involves SIM² KU Leuven (SOLVOMET) and VITO as core partners. The project has a total budget of almost 15 million euro and was approved in the call H2020-SC5-14b-2016-2017 (Raw Materials Innovation Actions, Processing of lower-grade and/or complex primary and/or secondary raw materials in the most sustainable ways). Pending the successful completion of the Grant Agreement procedure, the project will start in the spring of 2018. NEMO’s near-zero-waste recycling technology will provide the EU with important new resources, promote investment in the European mining sector and create licensable technologies that will be of great benefit to EU society through the expansion of employment opportunities in the raw-materials sector.

Of key importance in this project is the multi-actor approach to obtain and maintain the Social License to Operate for mining/recycling in Europe. SIM² KU Leuven will take the lead here to set up a combined bottom-up and top-down strategy, focusing on pro-active engagement of, respectively, local communities and international NGO’s that are active in the public debate with respect to pros and cons of mining and downstream mineral and metallurgical processing. This activity is kickstarted with the February 21 Artefact Symposium on the Social License to Operate.

Artefact Symposium

The Symposium is organised by SIM² KU Leuven, STUK, i-cleantech Vlaanderen and the Province of Flemish Brabant, who have joined forces with a multitude of other local, Belgian and EU organisations (incl. EIT RawMaterials and EU METGROW+). The Symposium is part of the Arts festival Artefact 2018: This Rare Earth – Stories from Below, the largest in its kind in Flanders. The Symposium will also offer the participants to have a speed trip allowing to enjoy the unique,  rare-earth related artwork that will be exhibited. Participation is free of charge. Registration is to be done on-line: Register here (for free) >