Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf/Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres pursuing new insights that will allow us to maintain and improve all of our lives. That is why the HZDR conducts research in the sectors health, energy, and matter in Dresden and at three other locations. 

The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) was founded in 2011 and belongs to Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. The 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. 

laboratory in Dresden-Rossendorf
bacteria and copper

Such innovations can for example be developed through interdisciplinary research work involving geosciences, bioscience, and geochemistry. The geoscience group provides information about the minerals, their occurrence in the given resource, and intergrowth. The biologists select microbial driven processes to leach metals from the ore (bioleaching) and selectively separate them (biosorption, biomineralization). The complexity of ores and their very low content of metals require as well a deeper look on chemical reactions and metal mobility during the bioleaching process.

The project EcoMetals fits perfectly into these research areas. Hence, the scientists at the HZDR are very interested in advancing the mineralogical, biotechnological and geochemical expertise within the transnational collaboration and exchange with the leading experts in this specific topic.

Work packages

  • Work package 1: HIF contributes to the characterization of the sample material, determining the geochemistry, mineralogy and mineralization in material from primary resources.

  • Work package 2: HIF is part of the tasks “bioleaching consortium inventory and screening” as well as the definition and implementation of a global methodology for monitoring WP2 experiments. The screening focus is on new microbes that are able to leach coppershale at naturally occurring pH values (between 5 and 8). 

  • Work package 3: HIF is responsible for the biosorption part. A new tool for specific metal recovery will be developed. The new tools are small designed molecules (peptides) strategic metals.

  • Work package 4: HIF is WP leader and performs the mineralogical and geochemical analysis of ore, processed ore minerals and other bioleaching products. In addition, HIF is working on the development of new methodologies to solve known problems in the study of copper shale.

  • Work package 6: HIF is WP leader, and responsible for the overall coordination of the project, the dissemination plan, training activities as well as the exploitation and IPR management

Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Halsbrücker Str. 34
09599 Freiberg


Dr. Katrin Pollmann

+49 351 2602946

Dr. Stefan Dirlich

+49 351 2604413

Dr. Robert Möckel

+49 3731 392079

Dr. Sabine Kutschke

+49 351 2602151

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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