New methods of extracting valuable minerals

G.E.O.S. analyses and evaluates valuable minerals from German gravel pits - cassiterite could be economically viable to extract

In an extensive study commissioned by the German Raw Materials Agency at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, G.E.O.S. investigated the possibilities of extracting valuable minerals that co-occur in gravel and sand deposits in Germany. In cooperation with partners, Dr. Frank Haubrich characterised heavy mineral samples from 40 gravel pits in the catchment areas of the Elbe, Rhine, Danube, Main and Weser rivers in their mineralogical and chemical properties. Subsequently, an economic evaluation was made. Mainly sands and gravels were analysed with regard to the economically relevant minerals magnetite, ilmenite, garnet, rutile, zircon and cassiterite.

The report compiled by G.E.O.S. summarises all the data from the mineralogical processing studies and evaluates the results obtained. The main result was that among the valuable minerals found in the German gravel sand deposits, only cassiterite (tinstone) could be commercially recoverable. The gravel sands with interesting cassiterite contents are all located in the foothills of the Erzgebirge and along the river Elbe.

In the course of the implementation of the European, federal and Saxon raw material strategy, the Saxon tin deposits will gain in importance. Their evaluation has already been carried out in the project ROHSA 3 - Raw Material Data Saxony. The potential of cassiterite in the sand and gravel deposits could make a significant contribution to the wider use of primary domestic raw materials.


The German Raw Materials Agency is the competence centre for the raw materials industry and the central information and consulting platform on mineral resources and recycled raw materials for the German economy.

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