This WP aims at the development of innovative bioleaching methods for extraction of copper and associated rare metals from Cu-bearing materials (primary and secondary Kupferschiefer materials; polymetallic French tailings rich in chalcopyrite); and development of an eco-efficient, low-cost, low-energy processing technology for recovery of metals from low-grade ores.

BRGM is WP leader while Air Liquide, BGR, BRAIN, HIF, KGHM, LaTep, MRM and TUBAF contribute to this work package.


Scientific bottlenecks

  • bioleaching microbial consortium inventory and screening

  • reactional mechanism of chalcopyrite dissolution

Case studies

  • development and optimization of Cu concentrate bioleaching

  • bioleaching of organic-rich material after sorting

  • development of innovative bioleaching processes

  • definition and implementation of a global methodology for the monitoring of WP2 experiments


  • selection of bacterial strains for bioleaching

  • innovative transformation of organic-rich materials for bioleaching

  • description of mechanisms of chalcopyrite dissolution

  • optimization of bioleaching processes on lab-scale

  • performances of bioleaching at pilot scale on case studies

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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