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Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology

The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) pursues the objective of developing innovative technologies for the economy so that mineral and metalliferous raw materials can be made available and used more efficiently and recycled in an environmentally friendly manner.

HIF was set up in 2011 by the German government as part of its national strategy for raw materials. It is a constituent part of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and works in close collaboration with TU Bergakademie Freiberg. HIF is a core member of the European EIT RawMaterials network, having played a decisive role in its establishment.

The institute belongs to the Energy Efficiency, Materials, and Resources Program of the Helmholtz Association and to the Resource Technology Topic, respectively.


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Foto: Flotation lab. ©Copyright: HZDR/ Frank Schinski

Work and environmental safety and research go hand in hand

Anyone working in a laboratory in research and industry also deals with chemicals and other hazardous substances. To avoid risky situations, employees receive regular training. The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, which is part of Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, together with the laboratory equipment manufacturer VWR International, is organizing an in-house exhibition on the subject of work and environmental safety on Tuesday, 22.1.2019.
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Foto: Crystal aggregate consisting of chalcopyrite, galenite, sphalerite and calcite. ©Copyright: HZDR/ Jürgen Jeibmann

Germany’s hidden treasures

The Energiewende is systemically changing our use of raw materials. While the need for coal, oil and gas is decreasing in the long term, the demand for metals and construction materials for energy-efficient wind and solar plants, battery and hydrogen storage or other systems is growing. Germany is not yet fully exploiting its potential in this field.
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The Circular Economy: Efficient Use of Valuable Resources

From the copper cables to the lithium batteries, metal and mineral raw materials play a vital role in our everyday lives. The demand for these resources in terms of quantity and diversity is increasing, especially for use in renewable energy, electromobility, communications and other advanced technologies. At the same time, however, ensuring their continued availability poses a growing number of global challenges, as mineable deposits tend to be located in inhospitable areas or at great depths, while the ores themselves have low metal content and are often fine-grained and complex in structure.

How can supplies be secured in the long term? An important contribution to the more efficient use of resources can be made by recycling (known as the Circular Economy) and by minimizing loss from the system.

The HIF research team has been drawn from multiple scientific disciplines and has been gathered together under a single roof to look into such issues as the exploration, processing, metallurgy and recycling of mineral resources. By precisely analyzing the properties of raw materials and the valuable substances they contain as well as by means of computer simulation, it is possible to quantify the material and energy efficiency of processes along the value chain and to identify new solutions for the socially responsible and commercially viable use of raw materials.


Mission & Aims

  • Developing new technologies for safeguarding the long-term supply of mineral and metalliferous raw materials from domestic and global sources
  • Contribution to global environmental protection through material and energy efficiency
  • Establishing long-term economic relations with resource-based countries
  • Training a new generation of highly qualified scientists and engineers for German industry and for academia

How to Find Us

Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology
Chemnitzer Str. 40, 09599 Freiberg, Germany

Road Map to the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology