BRGM - Bureau Recherche de Géologique et Minières

BRGM (the French Geological Survey) is a French Public Institution responsible for mobilising the Earth Sciences in the sustainable management of georesources and the subsurface domain. Scientific research is one of the BRGM’s key roles. The aim is to further geological knowledge and understanding of surface and subsurface processes through observations and modelling. Over 700 BRGM engineers and researchers – two thirds of its staff - are involved in scientific research.

Bioleaching piloting facilities (© BRGM – Guezennec)
Observation of bioleaching bacteria attached on a pyrite particle (FISH method) (© BRGM – Joulian)
Bacteria sampling at the outlet of Talvivaara heap (© BRGM – Joulian)

BRGM research brings practical responses to the major challenges facing society and arising in particular from climate change, increasing mineral resource scarcity, new energy needs, natural risks and soil and water pollution. These research activities translate into support for the development of public policies and transfers of technology and innovation to industry.

In Ecometals project, Brgm brings its expertise in bioleaching from lab to pilot scale and its expertise in process integration and environmental assessment of innovative processes. Previously Brgm has coordinated EU-FP6 Bioshale project and largely contributed to EU-FP7 ProMine.

Work packages

  • Work package 1: French copper resources mainly from polymetallic deposits and tailings will be described and characterized.

  • Work package 2: BRGM will coordinate the actions of low-grade and complex sulfidic ores bioleaching process developments. The main challenges concern recalcitrant bioleaching of chalcopyrite minerals, reaching of economic viability (together with metal recovery WP3 on pilot scale) and development of a new bioreactor.

  • Work package 4: BRGM will contribute to the mineralogical characterization of solid materials with classical mineralogical tools (XRD, EMPA); namely sub-products of bioleaching reaction will be analysed to better understand reaction routes and mechanisms.

  • Work package 5: BRGM will work in close relation with Bio (WP leader) to propose an environmental and economic assessment of the process, namely by modeling mass balances of the process. Also inventory of long term emissions from mining and mineral processing residues will be discussed.

  • Work package 6: BRGM will assist HZDR in the general project coordination and is in charge of the relation with ANR (The French Research Agency) and the French partners.

BRGM - Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières
avenue Claude Guillemin, BP 36009
45060 Orléans Cedex 2

Dr. Françoise Bodénan

Dr. Anne-Gwenaelle Guézennec

Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie

Halsbrücker Str. 34
09599 Freiberg, Germany

BRGM - Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières

avenue Claude Guillemin, BP 36009
45060 Orléans Cedex 2, France

EcoMetals is a transnational research project aiming at the development of innovative biohydrometallurgical processes for the extraction of copper and other (associated) metals from coppershale.. The project receives funding from the French ANR (L’Agence nationale de la recherche) and the German Ministry of Education and Research BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) under the reference number 033RF001.

In total, 17 partners from science and industry collaborate in this project. Start of the project was in February 2014 and it will run until June 2017. 

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