Integrated innovative pilot system for critical raw materials recovery from mines wastes in a circular economy context

Business Period Project Coordinator Funding Scheme
Energy May 2021- October 2024 Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Asociación (LEITAT)


Critical Raw materials (CRMs) are crucial to Europe’s economy. They form a strong industrial base, producing a broad range of goods and applications used in everyday life and modern technologies.

CRMs are needed for significant economic and strategical sectors, as for example manufacturing batteries, construction tools, sensors and electronic devices, medical devices, metals, automotive, defence or renewable energy sectors. However, unreliable supply and difficult substitution to CRMs is a growing concern within the EU and across the globe.

Currently, the EU relies on the rest of the world for many CRMs such as Antimony (Sb, 100% imported), Cobalt (Co, 32% imported), Germanium (Ge, 64% imported) and Tungsten (W, 44% imported). European reserves and current recycling rates are low (2% for Ge as an example), and recycling rates are substantially insufficient to meet demand.


RAWMINA aims to develop and to demonstrate the RAWMINA pilot system: an industrially scalable and flexible innovative pilot in continuous operation for MW valorisation, achieving 95% recovery rate and 95% selectivity for CRMs (Co, Sb, Ge, W), and 80-90% recovery rate and 95% selectivity for Gold (Au), Silver (Ag) and Iron (Fe) based high-value products, whilst reutilising 90% of water.

The RAWMINA pilot system will treat up to 100-150 kg MW/day on an industrial demonstration (TRL7, 12 months operation) and includes an efficient, circular and robust process control by an end-to-end Intelligent Management System.

To achieve these aims, RAWMINA activities include MW conditioning and characterization, optimization and upscaling of innovative technologies, such as continuous bioleaching, iron removal with magnetic separation & by-products recovery, selective recovery of Co, Sb, Ge and W through a combination of Nanofibrous Composite Materials, Thermo-Desorption Process and Electro Winning followed by other metals recovery by Electro Coagulation, process simulation, integration, and pilot design, System engineering & Demonstration.

The sustainability and social impact of these technologies will be checked and finally the exploitability of the project will be analysed with a Circular Business Plan. The project will create a unique community, named “CRM Recovery Helix” to maximise clustering and dissemination to all the relevant stakeholders (researchers, industries, investors, municipalities, policy makers, NGOs, Society).


Funded by the EU, RAWMINA project officially started in May 2021. The project addresses major challenges for the international mining industry, and will deliver significant impact across the European Economy, Environment and Social Wellbeing.

RAWMINA will last 42 months and is driven by 19 partners from 9 EU countries, 1 non-EU country and 2 international partners, aiming to develop and demonstrate an innovative pilot system for the clean and sustainable production of non-energy, non-agricultural raw materials from Mine Waste (MW) resources.

Project Consortium

1. Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Asociación (LEITAT) - Spain 2. AGQ Mining & Bioenergy S.L - Spain 3. Bureau De Recherches Géologiques Et Minières (BRGM) - France 4. Universidad de Sevilla - Spain 5.G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft Mbh- Germany 6. Fundacion Leitat Chile - Chile 7. Pardam NANO4FIBERS Sro – Czech Republic  8.Universitat Autònoma De Barcelona - Spain 9. Elentec Ltd - United Kingdom  10.Fundacion Tecnalia Research & Innovation - Spain 11. Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus VTT Oy - Finland 12. RINA Consulting SpA - Italy  13.Cobre las Cruces - Spain 14. Wings Ict Solutions Information & Communication Technologies Ike - Greece  15.Tharsis Mining, S.L. - Spain  16.Juan Rayo Ingeniería S.A - Chile 17. Fundacio Universitaria Balmes - Spain  18.Crowdhelix Ltd - Ireland  19.Inlecom Commercial Pathways LTD - Ireland.

Roberta Manariti