In the Focus of Research

Foto: Bohrkerne aus sächsischen Bergbauhalden ©Copyright: HZDR/ Detlev Müller


Alte Bergbauhalden können eine wichtige Rohstoffquelle sein. Sie enthalten noch erhebliche Mengen an Wertstoffen, nur waren diese früher technisch nicht gewinnbar oder für die Industrie uninteressant. Alle Aktivitäten, die sich mit der Ressourcengewinnung aus und der Wiederaufarbei­tung von Bergbauhalden befassen, werden als „ReMining“ bezeichnet. ReMining ist ein For­schungs­schwerpunkt am HIF.
Foto: Non-invasive raw material exploration from the air ©Copyright: Robert Zimmermann

The future of raw material exploration in the EU: INFACT – Innovative, non-invasive and fully acceptable exploration ­techno­logies

The EU INFACT project aims at contributing to raw materials security in the European Union by way of invigorating Europe as a destination for exploration. The project partners envisage to change raw material exploration in a way that it becomes socially accepted, environmentally-friendly and technologically advanced.
Foto: Separating non-valuable rock from the ore at the earliest possible stage minimizes costs and rubble in further processing of raw materials. (ref) ©Copyright: TUBAF / Detlev Müller

Sustainable Processing of Rare Earths (REE Nam Xe)

The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology and the UVR-FIA GmbH are developing a new strategy for processing the Vietnamese “Nam Xe” rare earth ore deposits in an environmentally friendly and economical manner. Optical sensors are to be employed in this endeavor.
Foto: Mikroskopische Aufnahme eines Komplexerzes. Es besteht aus Wertmineralen wie Sulfiden (schwarz), Kassiterit (braun) oder Fluorit (beige), die die wirtschaftlich relevanten Elementen Indium, Kupfer, Eisen, Zinn oder Fluor enthalten können. (Ref) ©Copyright: HZDR

New Strategies for the Processing of Complex Ores (AFK)

AFK aims at developing technical solutions for processing the different value minerals in complex ores simultaneously in an economic, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way. In order to achieve this, new methods have to be developed, already existing ones have to be enhanced and the entire process chain from the crushing of the ore through to the production of a marketable mineral concentrate must be optimized.
Foto: Geologe Matthias Bauer (TUBAF) untersucht Gesteine im Besucherberkwerk Pöhla ©Copyright: Tina Schulz

Resource Potential of Hydrothermal Deposits in the Variscan Belt (ResErVar)

Developing extensive models of the geological formation and distribution of mineral deposits, the HIF and its project partners aim to reassess raw materials potential here in Germany. The results will also serve as the foundation for the investigation of other raw material deposits. Additionally, the partners plan on establishing a graduate school to fos­ter junior scientists in geoscience.
Foto: Viele Hightech-Produkte wie Mikroprozessoren sind ohne Seltene Erden undenkbar. ©Copyright: Flickr / Tom Hoyle (

Molecular Containers for Extracting Rare Earths (SE-FLECX)

Under the coordination of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology experts from research and industry are testing if so-called calixarenes could be used as an alternative extraction agent in the industrial se­paration of rare earths. The organic macro molecules are expected to simplify the enrichment of these metals and significantly decrease the use of process chemicals.
Foto: GERRI ref. ©Copyright: HZDR/ Taufrisch

German Resource Research Institute (GERRI)

GERRI is a cooperation between the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, RWTH Aachen, TU Clausthal and the Fraunhofer Project Group IWKS. It aims at gathering all national competencies, infrastructures, and strategies on raw materials in one virtual institute and at creating compatibility amongst them.
Foto: In Mobiltelefonen und anderen Hightech-Produkten stecken viele wichtige metallhaltige Rohstoffe. In der BMBF-Fördermaßnahme r3 „Innovative Technologien für Ressourceneffizienz – Strategische Metalle und Mineralien“ erforschen Wissenschaftler Wege, um die Rohstoffeffizienz zu steigern. ©Copyright: Buero Quer


The funding measure "r³ - Strategic Metals and Minerals" is part of the BMBF framework program FONA - Research for Sustainable Development, which includes more than 25 collaborative research projects in Germany co­vering the research fields of recycling, raw material efficiency, substitution, urban mining and sustainability impact assessment. Emphasis is placed on the development of innovative ­techno­logies for resource efficiency with particular regard to economic, environmental and social aspects.