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discovered_02_2015 - Panorama: Raw materials for the high-tech industry

discovered 02.15 PANORAMA Since May 2015, the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) has been coordinating four research projects receiving 5.5 million euros in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). These projects are being carried out under the subject "r4 – Innovative Technologies for Resource Efficiency – Research for the Supply of Raw Materials of Strategic Economic Importance" as part of the overall program "Research for Sustainable Development" (FONA). Within the context of this project, funding is provided mainly to support the development of innovative processes for exploiting, processing, and recycling mineral and metalliferous raw materials. Molecular containers for the extraction of rare earth elements As part of the BMBF project "SE-FLECX", experts from the research and industrial sectors aim to test if so-called calixarenes can be used as an alternative extraction medium in industrial extraction processes. The organic macromolecule, also known as a container molecule because of its special chemical structure, is expected to simplify the extraction of metals and considerably decrease the usage of process chemicals. Processing of complex ores New concepts for the processing of complex ores from known natural mineral deposits in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) are the focal point of the "AFK" project. The ore, which is composed of a variety of fine-grained and closely integrated valuable minerals, has until now been considered difficult or even impossible to process. The goal is to develop technical solutions for processing the different value minerals both in an economic and energy- efficient way. In order to achieve this, the entire process chain from the crushing of the ore to the production of a marketable mineral concentrate must be analyzed and optimized. Investigation of local mineral deposits Using extensive models of the geological formation and distribution of mineral deposits in Germany, the HIF and its project partners aim to reassess raw materials potential here in Germany. The results will also serve as a base for exploring other raw material deposits. Additionally, with the joint project "ResErVar", the partners plan on establishing a graduate school to foster junior scientists in geoscience. Virtual raw materials institute The "German Resource Research Institute" (GERRI) aims to gather all national raw materials competencies, infrastructures, and strategies in one virtual institute for the very first time and purposefully coordinate these. This is meant to drive research along the entire added value chain for non-energetic mineral raw materials internationally as well. The r4 program picks up right where the funding program "r3 – Innovative Technologies for Resource Efficiency - Strategic Metals and Minerals", which is currently set to expire, leaves off. Among the project partners in Saxony are TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Beak Consultants GmbH, Sachsenzinn GmbH, Saxore Bergbau GmbH, University of Leipzig and the UVR-FIA GmbH. Other national partners include the Fraunhofer Project Group IWKS, BASF SE, CMI UVK GmbH, Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, RWTH Aachen and the TU Clausthal. _TS. PANORAMA – HZDR NEWS RAW MATERIALS FOR THE HIGH-TECH INDUSTRY Indium, copper, iron, fluorine, or tin can be finely distributed throughout a complex ore. Processing these materials is very costly and difficult.