Finnish companies Weeefiner and Sensmet are testing methods to extract critical minerals such as rare earths from the water of abandoned mines.
Two Finnish companies, Weeefiner and Sensmet, are working on a solution to recover raw materials such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper, as well as rare earth metals, from mining waters. They would be supported for three years with up to two million dollars by mining company Rio Tinto, as reported by mining.com and others. The funding is taking place as part of the Sustainable Water Treatment Challenge program. The metal recovery and water treatment technology is being provided by Weeefiner, and the instrumentation is from Sensmet.
However, investments in raw material recovery from mining industry legacies such as mine wastewater or coal ash are nothing new: In April of this year, the USA announced that it would fund raw material recycling projects with large sums of money (we reported). Other countries, such as Germany, Chile and Brazil, are also working on methods to recycle critical raw materials from sludge or wastewater from closed mines. Such technologies could become even more important in the future, as the demand for critical raw materials is growing and the development of new raw material mining areas usually takes many years.