On 9-11 October 2018, Prometia – an international non-profit association promoting innovation in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy for mining and recycling of raw materials – organised its yearly Prometia Techtour. The 2018 edition took place in Belgium, with stops in Liège, Leuven and Antwerp. The 22 young researchers visited two pilot facilities (Hydrometal and CRM near Liège), UMICORE near Antwerp and KU Leuven. SIM² KU Leuven, a Prometia member, hosted two lab visits and several seminars on metal recycling and recovery from urban waste, upcycling of low-grade residues and process intensification strategies. SIM² KU Leuven researchers had a very fruitful interaction with the 22 young researchers and look forward to joining the next Techtour in October 2019. One of the Prometia participants, Andrea Martos, was so enthusiastic that she wrote a report for the IDENER website, which we reproduce here. (PTJ, 24/10/2018)

About Prometia

Prometia is an international non-profit association promoting innovation in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy for mining and recycling of raw materials. The Association aims to strengthen European technical skills and industrial know-how in raw materials processing and support industrial and economic development by:

  • promoting an easier access for industrial partners to the most relevant and competent European R&D teams as well as to services & facilities for up-scaling metallurgical and mineral processes in Europe;
  • promoting the most innovative cutting-edge scientific results from European research teams towards industrial partners;
  • facilitating the visibility and access of all the partners to various funding opportunities

Andrea Martos/IDENER report on the 2018 Techtour

For the second year in a row, IDENER once again engaged in the PROMETIA Technological tour, which this time took place in Leuven, a beautiful town next to Brussels, in Belgium. Our young researcher Andrea Martos was very excited to participate and has returned very enthusiastically with fresh ideas of the metallurgical industry and new colleagues.

Photo Prometia Techtour 2018The first day, the researchers from PROMETIA institutions visited UMICORE in Antwerp, where they acquired the urban mining concept and had the opportunity to see how this company works worldwide. UMICORE has its precious metal recycling plant in the city, where it recycles residues from different kinds of industry to do valuable products.

After a Greek lunch, they returned to Leuven and visited the Science Materials Faculty of KU Leuven. At this visit, they learnt about the different projects and research about slags and raw materials where KU Leuven takes part. After that, they enjoyed the traditional food from Leuven and takes time to know better each other.

Photo Prometia Techtour 2018The second day, the group moved to Liège and visited two important metallurgy enterprises. First, they went to Hydrometal S.A., a recycling industry practitioner in selective leaching, metal precipitation, cementation and other ways to remove or reduce impurities and separate metal powder.

They were able to discover the process of desulphuration, the management of water wastes and the storage the powder, among others. After that, they visited CRM, an organization that provides solutions and innovations in the area of metal and steel production.

Moreover, they had the possibility to visit the pilot-plant and gain knowledge about the processes and industrial systems such as induction melting furnace and aluminium melting post-combustion unit. At night, they had dinner with KU Leuven students and shared the experience and common interests.

KU Leuven/SOLVOMET new solvoleaching reactor

Last day morning, the group visited, respectively, the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Departments of KU Leuven University. In this visit, they did a tour around the metal recovery processes with intensification technologies (TRX, Ultrasound-assisted extraction, etc.) in the laboratories.

Then, they attended a talk about solvometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, non-aqueous solvent extraction and recycling of rare-earths from lamp phosphors and magnets.

This was an experience that Andrea remembers with joy, and she is very inspired for her current and future work.

Looking forward to the next edition!

Read more about Idener here.

  Photo Prometia Techtour 2018