Introducing INTMET Integrated Metallurgy

first_imgINTMET is a European funded project titled Integrated innovative metallurgical system to benefit efficiently polymetallic, complex and low-grade ores and concentrates (http://www.intmet.eu). It focuses – as the titles indicates – on the difficult task to recover valuable metal from low-grade and complex ores. It  aims to develop three innovative hydrometallurgical processes (atmospheric, pressure and bioleaching), and novel more effective metals extraction techniques (e.g. Cu/Zn SX and EW, chloride media, MSA, etc.) that will be tested at relevant environment aiming to maximise metal recovery yield and minimising energy consumption and environmental footprint.The Project Coordinator is Carlos Frias of Cobre Las Cruces.The EU is self-sufficient in the production of construction minerals and also has a large production of industrial minerals, but it is heavily reliant on non-ferrous metal imports to satisfy domestic demand. For example 62% of copper consumption, 65% zinc, 45% Ag, 92% Au is imported). For several base metals including Critical Raw Materials (CRM) such as rare earth elements, PGMs, indium and cobalt to name just a few, the EU countries rely on imports entirely. However, Europe has considerable potential to develop low-grade polymetallic mineral deposits, but they are often dismissed because of the (mainly) technical impossibility to recover metals in an efficient and economically sustainable way. Currently there is no economical process for on-site metal extraction from low-grade poly-metallic deposits, and even more, there is not any industrial process able to deal with polymetallic (Cu+Zn+Pb) concentrates.The INTMET approach represents a radical solution and seeks a unique technological breakthrough to overcome the limitations related to low-grade and complex ores to achieve high efficient recovery of valuable metals such as Cu, Zn, Pb, Ag, and also critical metals like Co, In, Sb. The main objective of INTMET is to apply an on-site M2M (Mine-to-Metal) approach and integrated treatment of the produced concentrates, combining innovative hydrometallurgical processes (atmospheric, pressure and bioleaching), and novel metals extraction techniques (e.g. Cu/Zn-SX-EW). Additionally, secondary materials like tailings and metallurgical wastes will be added to the process for valorisation and metal recovery. The feasibility technical, environmental and economic of the entire approaches will be integrated to offer an innovative business solution.The INTMET industry-driven multi-sectoral Consortium consists of 12 partners from eight European countries and one partner from South Africa. It includes three operating mines in operation: KGHM in Poland, Cobre Las Cruces in Spain, and Soc Mineira de Neves Corvo (SOMINCOR) in Portugal. There are three technology providers: Outotec, Tecnicas Reunidas and AGQ Mining & BioEnergy. There are five public academic centres: Bor Institute of Non-ferrous Metals, Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals (IMN), the French Geological Survey BRGM, the National Research Development Institute for Non-Ferrous and Rare Metals (IMNR), and Mintek in South Africa. Finally there is the consultancy expert network in mineral policy MinPol.last_img

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