Recovery technologies of tungsten, niobium and tantalum beyond the state-of-the-art.
PROJECT TARANTULA: Recovery of tungsten, niobium and tantalum occurring as by-products in mining and processing waste streams.
The extraordinary properties of refractory metals, the unlikeliness of their future substitution and their use in booming industries will sustain a high EU demand for tungsten (W), niobium (Nb) and tantalum (Ta). Despite all three being classified as Critical Raw Materials (CRM) by the European Commission (EC), fractions of these indispensable metals are dissipated as by-products in mining waste streams as well as process scrap.
To stimulate their recovery from such complex, low-grade resources, TARANTULA develops a suite of cost-effective, scalable, and ecofriendly – bio-, hydro-, iono-, solvo-, pyro- and electro-metallurgical – processes with high selectivity and recovery rates. These novel technologies, each representing an alternative for one or more process steps of state-of-the art (SoA) processing lines, form new routes towards market-ready metals, metal oxides and metal carbides.
Flexibility is the cornerstone of the overall process flowsheet to enable recovery of all three elements (W, Nb, Ta), thereby minimizing the CAPEX required for future processing installations. Following systematic research and innovation activities at lab scale, the envisioned technologies are brought to TRL3-5 and, based on performance,
validated at prototype level by experienced industrial partners. In parallel, future by-product recovery is supported by carrying out a comprehensive identification and assessment of existing underexploited secondary sources of W, Nb and Ta.
The generated information – in compliance with all pertinent laws and regulations – is fed into the Raw Materials Information System (RMIS) which will boost the impact of the project far beyond the current consortium. Finally, TARANTULA blueprints tailored communication, dissemination, and civil society engagement strategies with respect to obtaining and maintaining the “Social License to Operate” for future heavy duty metallurgical processing.
Our main tasks
- Upscaling optimization
- Setting up industrial specifications
- Inventory and feasibility analysis
- Process design
- Modelling of the TARANTULA proposed process
- Conceptual and basic engineering
CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY | CRONIMET | E-MINES | FUNDACION ICAMCYL | IDENER.AI | INERCO | KU LEUVEN | PNO INNOVATION | SALORO | SIDENOR | SINTEF | STRATEGIC MINERALS SPAIN | TANTALUM-NIOBIUM INTERNATIONAL STUDY CENTER | TECNALIA | UNIVERSITE DE LIEGE | VITO
Start date – finish date
06 / 2019 - 11 / 2023
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 821159