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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.


Latest News

Foto: Mineral exploration sensor ©Copyright: Geotech Ltd.

INFACT’s first trials of innovative, non-invasive mineral exploration ­techno­logies are imminent

The EU-funded INFACT project, which is coordinated by Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, aims at combining the development and test of innovative, non-invasive minerals exploration ­techno­logies with an assessment of their social acceptance. For this purpose, three European reference sites will be established in Germany, Finland and Spain. Stakehol­der consultations took place at all sites in June and early July to pave the way for first technology trials which are about to start in August.
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Foto: Pilot test: mining of test material at the Hämmerlein-Tellerhäuser complex-ore deposit in the Erzgebirge ©Copyright: HZDR

Raw Material­s Deposits in the Erzgebirge: Researchers aim to extract metals from local complex ores

Freiberg is at the centre of efforts of European raw-materials experts who aim to show that important metals can be extracted commercially from complex, composite ores that previously could not be exploited economically. The consortia of the German national project AFK, coordinated by the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, and the European funded project FAME, managed by Wardell Armstrong International UK (WAI) and Geokompetenz­zentrum Freiberg (GKZ), have joint forces to invigorate complex ore processing by using modern rock analysis methods and compu­ter simulations. The newly designed process is now to be tested in a pilot plant trial in Freiberg with 150 tonnes of ores from the Hämmerlein-Tellerhäuser deposit in the Erzgebirge.
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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