The ‘Engineering & Technology’ magazine (E&T magazine) is the IET’s award-winning monthly magazine and associated website for professional engineers, with a circulation of approximately 140,000. It covers all areas of engineering and technology through exclusive news, features, analysis, announcements and job adverts. The scope of E&T’s coverage is very broad and is aimed at professionals working in all areas of engineering and technology. For one of their articles, Peter Tom Jones and Piet Wostyn, as respectively coordinator and project manager of the NEW-MINE project, were contacted to comment on the latest technological developments in landfill mining.
The article first highlights the potential of genetic engineering: “Genetic engineering could allow scientists to create new lifeforms capable of retrieving materials buried deep within waste sites. … Research into biometallurgy, whereby bacteria are designed to selectively recover certain metals, is ongoing at several scientific institutions globally, though insiders say it is currently “at a low TRL [technology readiness level]”.” If the technology results successful, it could contribute to the closing the loop and fits within the vision of circular economy.
In contrast with this rather ‘futuristic’ technology, the NEW-MINE and many other project are demonstrating that Enhanced Landfill Mining is already a reality: “Mining of landfill sites using more conventional methods is already being practised in some countries, most notably Belgium, which is home to what is believed to be the largest landfill mining project anywhere in the world.” For the article, Peter Tom Jones as coordinator of Eurelco and NEW-MINE, was interviewed and stated about landfill mining that “the technology is ready, and in some cases there is a valid business case, but the problem is the lack of permits that have been issued because of objections from a very small minority of local people”.
You can read the full article here: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2017/11/genetically-engineered-slugs-to-chew-through-landfill-and-mine-precious-metals/