Circular economy to produce critical raw materials
from water in the mining industry

A full-scale circular economy model for the mining industry

REECOVERY is a research project co-funded by the European Commission that will develop and validate a resource recovery system to obtain critical raw materials from acidic contact water from old environmental liabilities of mining origin or from mining activity processes with the aim of reducing Europe’s dependence on imports.





36 months


Timeline of the REECOVERY project

1. Design, construction and implementation plan of the pilot-scale R&R treatment train

Objective: Design and construct the different units integrating the R&R treatment train (metal sulfides recovery, REE oxalates recovery, and water reclamation & wastewater minimization). It will allow the development of integration and implementation plan of the different units, which ensures their correct installation, commissioning and operation in MLF site.

Duration: January 2022 – February 2023

2. Pilot-scale R&R treatment train demonstration

Objective: Conduct the installation, commissioning, optimization, monitoring and long-term testing of the R&R pilot-scale treatment train. It will assess the influence of the operational conditions on the performance and efficiency of resource recovery and the impact on each downstream process to integrate them in the best possible way.

Duration: January 2022 – August 2024

3. Integration of circular economy strategies

Objective: Co-define, together with potential end-users, the quality standards of recovered raw materials and reclaimed water. Additionally, the quality of the recovered products will be assessed in order to define and implement a circular economy roadmap for their on-site valorization or out-site commercialization.

Duration: January 2023 – December 2024

4. Impact assessment and implementation

Objective: Evaluate the environmental impact and costs through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) of the R&R treatment train and compare it to the conventional water treatment. Describe how the full-scale projection of the R&R treatment train is implemented at MLF site in Aznalcóllar, Spain.

Duration: January 2024 – December 2024

5. Go-to-market strategy

Objective: Provide a clear focus on customer needs, value proposition, market analysis, IP strategy, competitor landscape, as well as a pathway for implementation and commercialization.

Duration: January 2022 – December 2024

6. Education and training

Objective: Provide training and technology transfer from partners of the consortium towards early-stage scientists (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) and MSc students and establish a joint domain for such actions among partners and collaborating research institutions.

Duration: January 2022 – December 2024

7. Communication and dissemination

Objective: Produce a strategic communication and dissemination plan to serve as a strong foundation for subsequent communication and dissemination activities. Raise awareness of REECOVERY objectives and achievements through digital and printed means. Engage and maintain a strong stakeholder network through a final REECOVERY workshop.

Duration: January 2022 – December 2024