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Anja Weigl
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Foto: Labor für Flotation ©Copyright: HZDR/ Frank Schinski

Sorting the wheat from the chaff: Pos­ter prize for research into flotation

In earlier centuries, raw materials were literally hacked out of the rock. The process is vividly described in the miners’ anthem, the Steigerlied. As the concentration of valuable minerals in new finds decreased, extraction became gradually more difficult. So for the past 150 years or so, the main technique for se­parating out the ores has been flotation.
Foto: Professor Markus Reuter ©Copyright: HZDR

Professor Markus Reu­ter awarded honorary doctorate by Stellenbosch Uni­versity

In a degree ceremony held today (08/12/17) at Stellenbosch Uni­versity, Markus Reu­ter is to be awarded an honorary PhD in Engineering for his outstanding scientific and technological contribution to the production and recycling of metals, as well as his exceptional role in the practical implementation of academic research. Since 2015, the metallurgy and recycling expert has been Director at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and Honorary Professor for System-Integrated Material Production at TU Bergakademie Freiberg.
Foto: Max Frenzel ©Copyright: HZDR/Scheufler | Förster Wissenschaftskommunikation

Bernhard von Cotta Prize awarded to Dr Max Frenzel

At the annual general meeting of the Association of Friends and Sponsors of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg on 1st December 2017, Dr Max Frenzel was awarded the 2017 Bernhard von Cotta Prize. The scientist, who is currently engaged in research at the Uni­versity of Adelaide in Australia, was honored for the outstanding work he did as part of his dissertation at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) and at the Institute of Mineralogy of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.
Foto: Non-invasive raw material exploration from the air ©Copyright: Robert Zimmermann

The future of raw materials exploration in Europe: New EU project establishes reference areas for trialling new technology in three countries – Germany, Finland and Spain

Europe is about to become more attractive for the exploration of raw materials. Partners drawn from research and industry plan to develop innovative, non-invasive ­techno­logies and test them under realistic conditions. For this purpose, three European reference areas are to be established in Germany (Geyer), Finland (Sakatti) and Spain (Minas de Riotinto, Gerena). To this end, the EU is investing around 5.6 million euros o­ver the next three years in INFACT, a new research project in which 17 partners from seven countries have joined forces. The project is being coordinated by the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.
Foto: Crystal aggregate consisting of chalcopyrite, galenite, sphalerite and calcite. ©Copyright: HZDR/ Jürgen Jeibmann

Alternative energy sources likely to increase demand for critical metals

If a raw material is in short supply, this can ad­versely affect entire industries. This is why the last decade has seen large-scale investment into research on high-tech metals, the supply of which is deemed to be at risk, and which are therefore considered critical. Researchers at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), part of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, and at Technische Uni­versität Chemnitz have closely examined existing criticality studies, and disco­vered se­veral flaws in their methodo­logies. They are calling for a reassessment of which materials are to be designated as ‘critical’. This could lead to the inclusion of copper, iron, aluminium and other classic industrial metals in revised lists of critical raw materials.
Foto: Prof. Quang-Van Phan ©Copyright: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Phan Quang Van

Reco­vering rare earth ores in Vietnam: Guest scientist at HIF

Since last year HIF researchers have been contributing their infrastructures and know-how to the development of a rare earth deposit in the north-west of Vietnam. Prof. Quang-Van Phan, the project lea­der on the Vietnamese side, has just spent three months in Freiberg in order to push on the cooperation, accomplishing se­veral important intermediate steps.
Foto: Flotation: air bubble with value minerals attached. ©Copyright: HZDR/ 3D Kosmos

Innovations in raw material processing and recycling: Pos­ter awards for HIF researchers

HIF staff members have lately been successful with presenting their research at various conferences. Dr Rohan Jain, a Marie Curie Fellow at HIF’s Biotechnology Group, has received a pos­ter award for pursuing an entirely novel approach in biotechnology in order to reco­ver gallium from wastewater. PhD student Bruno Michaux, who works with the Processing Division, has won a pos­ter award for introducing a modeling and simulation approach to handle water chemistry issues in ore processing using flotation. And his colleague Haosheng Wu was just given a best student presentation award for her research dedicated to the microanalysis of raw materials (see news of 20 Sept).
Foto: Haosheng Wu (crop) ©Copyright: Haosheng Wu

Microanalysis of raw materials: Best student pos­ter award

Haosheng Wu, a PhD student at Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), won a best student presentation award at the 21st International Conference on Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). Part of HIF’s Processing Division, she applies methods of the institute’s Ion Beam Analysis Group, thus linking both teams closely. The conference took place from 10 to 15 September 2017 in Krakow, Poland, gathering representatives from both academia and industry to exchange results and new ideas on SIMS and related techniques.
Foto: HIF Science Slam - 1.9.2017 ©Copyright: HZDR

A different approach to networking – First-e­ver HIF science slam

Around 120 researchers, technicians and administrative staff are currently employed at HIF, which operates three different sites in Freiberg and Dresden. As a mat­ter of fact, hardly any team member will know all the others. But how can the networking and scientific exchange be facilitated? In order to achieve this, HIF’s first-e­ver science slam took place on 1 September.
Foto: Solvent extraction for recycling 2: Philipp Rädecker uses solvent extraction to obtain metals from flue dust. ©Copyright: HZDR/ Detlev Müller

A mobile extraction plant for recycling of copper and indium

There is as yet no commercially viable method of salvaging all valuable metals from the dust generated during the production of copper and zinc. The HIF is conducting research into a new process specifically targeted at recycling the rare metal indium.
Foto: German Resource Research Institute - GERRI ©Copyright: GERRI

German research network GERRI growing

The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), a subordinate to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), will be an important partner of the German raw materials research network GERRI.
Foto: Recycling index: Dr. Antoinette van Schaik (MARAS B.V.) and Prof. Markus Reuter (HIF) invented the recycling index to help consumers understand how recyclable products are. ©Copyright: MARAS B.V.

Electronics recycling and its environmental footprint: The “Fairphone” example

In Germany, less than half of electronics waste is recollected again. Meagre collection quotas are just one, albeit ­very important reason why there is still so much left to do when it comes to recycling. The complex design of modern electronical devices like in a mobile phone is by itself a great challenge for reco­vering valuable metalliferous and mineral resources.
Foto: Was ist zu tun, um aus rohem Erz Metalle herauszuholen? Dieser Frage gehen die gemeinsam von der Terra Mineralia und dem Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie (HIF) veranstalteten Workshops nach. (ref) ©Copyright: HZDR/Detlev Müller

Explore, analyze and process raw materials

Freiberg’s terra mineralia exhibition is offering a new series of summer workshops for anyone interested in exploring, analyzing raw materials and enriching minerals; the series is being conducted in cooperation with the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), part of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, and other partners. All raw materials enthusiasts aged 12 and o­ver are welcome to take part. The first workshop takes place on Wednesday 28th June 2017.
Foto: Duong Huu Hoang ©Copyright: TU Bergakademie Freiberg

Paper award for PhD student

For presenting his results obtained by Mineral Liberation Analysis, Duong Huu Hoang, scientific assistant at TU Bergakademie Freiberg and HIF, was awarded the first prize of the “Metallurgy, Physical and Chemical Techno­logies of Hydrocarbons Treatment” section at the Annual Conference for Young Researchers in Saint Petersburg.
Foto: Kickoff MULSEDRO-Projekt Startseite ©Copyright: HZDR/ Detlev Müller

EU supports innovation and sustainable mineral exploration

The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), which is part of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, will receive a grant of approximately €900,000 o­ver the next three years to support the development of new ­techno­logies for the environmentally and socially sustainable as well as efficient exploration of natural resources. The EU funding will be made available by EIT RawMaterial­s, which is supported by the European Insitute of Innovation and Technology, and has already been earmarked for three new projects. The researchers are seeking to advance drone-based exploration and other innovative exploration methods.
Foto: Flotation: 3D visualization (crop). Flotation is commonly used to separate metals from crude ore. During flotation, the finely ground ore is mixed with water. The addition of chemicals makes the ore particles differentially wettable; valuable substances are extracted while worthless particles are left behind. The valuable substances are attached to air bubbles, transported upwards and can thus be separated. ©Copyright: HZDR/ 3D Kosmos

Copper mining with bioactive substances derived from bacteria

Chile is one of the most important suppliers of copper to German industry. Within the framework of the scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries, research is now being pursued into how Chilean copper ores can be extracted in a more environmentally sustainable way. Bioactive substances derived from bacteria may replace or reduce chemicals. A further aim is to increase metal yield while extracting metals that are traditionally difficult to se­parate out, in particular the molybdenum content. The joint project between Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) – part of HZDR – and the Advanced Mining and Technology Cen­ter at the Uni­versidad de Chile in Santiago de Chile began in February.
Foto: EMerald Winter Business School 2017 ©Copyright: Bruno Michaux

Future raw materials experts from all o­ver the world attend win­ter school in Freiberg

The youngs­ters attending the Win­ter Business School (9th - 27th January 2017) come from Brazil, Colombia, China and India as well as many other parts of the world and have already graduated in subjects such as Geology, Mineral Engineering, Physics and Chemistry. They are united by a desire to identify solutions to the challenges faced by the raw materials industry and to obtain a European Master’s in Georesources Engineering. This includes a three-week win­ter school in Freiberg, Saxony. 18 students from the course are taking part.
Foto: Hyperspectral remote sensing exploration in Greenland ©Copyright: Sandra Lorenz

Raw material exploration 2.0

There are many known ore deposits on Greenland, but also many sites that are difficult to reach. An innovative ‘toolbox’ based on drone-borne methods as well as specialised compu­ter software could soon make the exploration of raw materials significantly easier. Researchers from Freiberg are hereby collaborating with the Geological Research Institute of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).


Foto: Mikroorganismen im Erzbergbau ©Copyright: HZDR/ Sander Münster

Tailings as Raw Material Storage for Copper and Building Material­s: The German-Polish research project NOMECOR has begun

Copper and other non-ferrous metals cannot be fully broken down in mines, and residues of the valuable metals remain even after the metallurgical processes that follow. Residues are stored on tailings. The new German-Polish research project NOMECOR has two aims, namely to reclaim the metals as well as to make the mineral componen­ts of the tailings usable for cement production. The Federal Ministry for Research and Education is funding the research project for three years with approximately 500,000 euros. This is coordinated by the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) at HZDR as well as the Polish Institute for Non-ferrous Metallurgy (IMN).
Foto: German Resource Research Institute - GERRI ©Copyright: GERRI

The German Resource Research Institute (GERRI) goes online

In 2015, five leading German research institutes of the raw materials sector founded “GERRI” – a virtual institute that is aimed at strengthening German raw material research in the international realm. The “German Resource Research Institute“ has now reached an important stage recording, categorizing and publishing the national competencies and infrastructures of its founding partners in a database (
Foto: Eröffnung des EIT RawMaterials - Regional Center Freiberg ©Copyright: TU Bergakademie Freiberg/ Detlev Müller

Official opening of the EIT RawMaterial­s – Regional Cen­ter Freiberg

On October 20th, Uwe Gaul State, Secretary of the Saxon Ministry of Science and the Fine Arts, together with Prof. Dr. Klaus-Die­ter Barbknecht, Rector of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, officially inaugurated the EIT RawMaterial­s – Regional Cen­ter Freiberg. The Regional Cen­ter Freiberg is to assist Freiberg’s scientific institutions with networking across the region as well as supporting the academic education within the raw materials sector.
Foto: Gruppenfoto (von links nach rechts): Prof. Holger Lieberwirth (Institut für Aufbereitungsmaschinen/ IAM), Tom Leistner (HIF), Gerhard Merker (Gmünden), Bent Babel (HIF), Michael Klichowicz (IAM), Prof. Gerald van den Boogaart (HIF), Prof. Urs Peuker (Mechanische Verfahrenstechnik und Aufbereitungstechnik/ MVTAT), Dr. Thomas Mütze (MVTAT), Robert Hartmann (Oulu), Lutz Wuschke (MVTAT/IAM), Dr. Thomas Leißner (MVTAT), Nathalie Sterbik (HIF) und Dr. Martin Rudolph (HIF). ©Copyright: Dr. Martin Rudolph

Young Author Award of the International Mineral Processing Congress goes to Freiberg research cooperation project

From 11 until 15 September international scientists exchanged their latest results at the world’s largest mineral processing congress in Canada. Researchers from Freiberg took part presenting a successful collaboration project which earned a “Young Author Award”.
Foto: Sandra Jakob ©Copyright: HZDR

Best Paper Award given to Sandra Jakob of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology

Sandra Jakob of the exploration division of HZDR's Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology is the recipient of the Best Paper Award given for her lecture at the „8th Workshop on Hyperspectral Image and Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing“; her coauthors are Robert Zimmermann and Dr. Richard Gloaguen.
Foto: Max Frenzel ©Copyright: HZDR/Scheufler | Förster Wissenschaftskommunikation

Annual Production of Gallium und Germanium could be much higher

The global supply potential of the high-tech metals gallium and germanium is much grea­ter than actual annual production levels. This is the main conclusion from Max Frenzel’s work. Frenzel, a postgraduate student at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), which closely cooperates with the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, is one of two recipients of the Bernd Rendel Prize for Geosciences 2016. The prize, awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), will be presented on 28th September at the annual conference of the German Geological Society (DGGV) in Innsbruck.
Foto: Staff summer party at Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology on 25 August 2016 ©Copyright: Anja Weigl

Happy Birthday, Bon Anni­versaire, Felicitaciones! Staff celebrate 5th anni­versary

On 25 August 2016 the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology saw its first staff summer party at its new headquarters in Freiberg. And there was another reason for celebration since it has been five years now that the Helmholtz Institute was founded back then on 29 August 2011.
Foto: RJ Companero (Philippines) and Sibele do Nascimento (Brazil) have specialized in georesources engineering, accomplishing their master theses in Freiberg. ©Copyright: Anja Weigl

Georesources engineering students accomplish their work in Freiberg

Last week, three mas­ter students from the EU’s Emerald program in georesources engineering presented their mas­ter theses at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg (HIF). During the past six months, the students have accomplished their work at the HIF and the Institute for Mechanical Process Engineering and Mineral Processing (MVTAT) of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.
Foto: Supernova Zentrum Casa ©Copyright: NASA/CXC/SAO

Disco­very of a time-resolved supernova signal in Earth’s microfossils

Joint press release published on August 10, 2016: Physicists from the Technical Uni­versity of Munich (TUM) have succeeded in detecting a time-resolved supernova signal in the Earth’s microfossil record. As the group of Prof. Shawn Bishop could show, the supernova signal was first detectable at a time starting about 2.7 Million years ago. According to the researcher’s analyses, our solar system spent one Million years to transit trough the remnants of a supernova. Also involved in the project were researchers at HZDR's Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology.
Foto: Drone ©Copyright: HZDR

Experts from Saxony Assist Raw Material Exploration in Greenland

The technical expertise of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) has been requested to support mineral exploration of zinc deposits in West Greenland. The scientists of the HIF, part of the HZDR, are combining the use of drones alongside various other more traditional exploration methods. The aim of this project is to produce high-resolution geological maps of two remote areas of approximately 15 km2 each.

MinenfahrzeugAn outlook on the rare earth elements mining industry

How learning from the mistakes of the past can contribute to building a strong global rare earth elements supply chain; new April´s feature in the AutIMM Bullitin by George Barakos and Professor Jens Gutzmer (Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology) and Professor Helmut Mischo University (TU Bergakademie Freiberg). Read more
Foto: Beispiel für die expandierenden Überreste einer Supernova: Keplers Supernova explodierte in 13.000 Lichtjahren Entfernung im Sternbild Schlangenträger (Ophiuchus). Sternengucker wie der berühmte Astronom Johannes Kepler konnten sie schon vor 400 Jahren beobachten. ©Copyright: NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University) / CC BY 3.0

Supernovae Showered Earth with Radioactive Debris

An international team of scientists has found evidence of a series of massive supernova explosions near our solar system, which showered the Earth with radioactive debris. The scientists found radioactive iron-60 in sediment and crust samples taken from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Foto: Separating non-valuable rock from the ore at the earliest possible stage minimizes costs and rubble in further processing of raw materials. ©Copyright: TUBAF / Detlev Müller

Sustainable Processing of Rare Earths: HZDR scientists develop environmentally friendly strategy for Vietnam

Researchers at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology 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 for the first time in this endeavor. The recently initiated project, in cooperation with the UVR-FIA GmbH, is part of the CLIENT funding measure. Through this measure, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research fosters the cooperation with newly industrialized countries, thus supporting sustainable climate protection and environmental ­techno­logies as well as economic development.

Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie auf der PDAC 2016Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at leading exploration convention in Canada

Between March 6 and 9, 2016 the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) participates in the world’s leading Convention for people, companies and organizations in, or connected with, mineral exploration, the PDAC2016. The institute aims at strengthening its contacts to partners from international science and industry.