WasserWert project adds value to water

G.E.O.S. and TU Bergakademie Freiberg launch the WasserWert project - water treatment is linked to the recovery of valuable elements

The extraction and processing of mineral raw materials is often associated with the utilisation of water. This inevitably leads to negative impacts on these water bodies (surface waters and groundwater). Pollutants such as heavy metals and arsenic are released into these water bodies. In South America, where copper extraction plays a major role, the prevailing climatic conditions are accompanied by a general shortage of water and an associated conflict of utilisation in agricultural food production.

The WasserWert research project (resource-efficient treatment of complex mining waters including valuable element recycling) addresses this problem. In the project, technologies are being developed, applied and transferred to South America in order to purify mining and industrial water from heavy metals on the one hand and to recover them at the same time in order to close material cycles on the other. This involves using waste materials from the metallurgical industry (copper slag) to produce materials with which it is possible to remove oxoanions such as arsenate, molybdate, phosphate and vanadate from waste water, enrich them and recover them while simultaneously purifying the water.

The project consortium consists of G.E.O.S. and the Institute of Mining at TU Bergakademie Freiberg as coordinator as well as 2 South American partners. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection as part of the Environmental Protection Export Initiative.


More information on the project: