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BioMOre: An Alternative Mining Concept - Raw Materials Commitment

Acronym: 
BioMOre
Objectives of the commitment: 

Mineral resources potential at depth (>1km) is large in Europe as shown by current research (ProMine) but new methods are need for recovering them in an economic and environmentally acceptable manner. BioMOre objectives are to develop new technological concepts for in situ recovering metals from deep deposits using controlled stimulation of pre-existing fractures in combination with in-situ bioleaching. Stimulation is a standard technology for recovering water and geothermal energy. An innovative technology for deep metal recovery will be developed like in geothermal mining. Bacterial assisted in-situ recovery, an established technology for recovering metals from low grade ores, tailing and polluted soils, has progressed over the past 10 years, and will be optimized for deep mining conditions. The environmental security of the test sites will be guaranteed by the appropriate technical preparation. Sustainability indicators based on regulatory requirements of the European Commission will be applied for feasibility considerations.

Description of the activities: 

The program will comprise two main phases.
Phase I (program 2015-2018): An underground pilot test pilot well will be operated in order to allow the stimulation of natural fractures at depth. Risk assessment and mitigation, as well as safety measures, will form a major part of the project in order to guarantee environmental security. A methodology for quantifying the risks will be developed together with monitoring procedures. Major efforts will focus on advanced monitoring and water processing technologies in order to limit or avoid any risks in the operational area, as well as reducing the volumes of water involved in the process. Metals which will form the primary target of this technology including Cu, Zn, Ni, Pb, and Co, but additional research will be carried out on bacteria and inoculants in order to address the recovery of Mo, Re, REE, and precious metals. High frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields will be tested to enhance the in situ dissolution of metals in ore bearing horizons, as a pre-bacterial leaching step. Metal recovery from brines will be achieved using bacterial processing, with the inoculants adjusted to the individual composition of the brine. The optimal inoculants will be determined by lab investigations. Hydrometallurgical methods for metal separation from the brine with the ore horizon or on surface will be tested and evaluated and a choice made for optimal metal recovery, including selective precipitation by bacterial or physical/chemical separation techniques. A proposed test site will be selected from the copper bearing Kupferschiefer formations. This site contains a number of natural impermeable geological barriers (clay and salt layers) which will prevent leakage of metalliferous brines into the groundwater. Technical site preparation by applying new encapsulation technologies will provide further pre-conditions for ecological (green) production.
This first phase will be used to identify a possible target to establish a pilot site (Phase II) where wells will be drilled from the surface to access the ore body and perform the in-situ bioleaching process.
The program will be structured around eight working packages including: WP1 - Biotechnology, optimizing bio-leaching chemistry and stimulating processes – leader Bangor Unv. (UK), WP2 - Site selection, monitoring, risk assessment, 3&4D modeling, geophysical & geological data integration – leader GEOS. (D), WP3 - Reactor design, well design, exploration, core drilling and sampling injection well stimulation – leader KGHM (PL); WP4: Metal production, hydrometallury aspects – leader : HATCH (UK); WP5: Environmental impact and sustainability assessment, site closure, in situ safe-guarding, green mining – Leader: Kemakta (S); WP6: Exploitation, dissemination, training & education, promoting, public relations , result exploitation - Leader: DMT (D); WP7: Pre-feasibility study, economic evaluation, next step for pilot plant - Leader: UIT (D); WP8: Management Leader: MIRO (UK).
Phase II: a pilot site will established from the surface. This second phase will be proposed as a demonstrative project in the future call 2018.

Description of the expected impacts: 

Turn into accessible commodities mineralizations at depths greater than 1km normally not accessible by standard mining practice. Avoid huge amount of in-situ mining wastes, tailings, and dirty ponds reducing the environmental impacts and improving chances for public acceptance. Possibility to extract metals such as Cu, Zn, Ni, Co by circulating solutions at depth. Decrease costs of extraction by lowering infrastructure investments. Develop solution mining socially more acceptable by the public. Phase II: a multi well pilot project will be conceived and designed according to results obtained in phase I. This pilot will aim at recovering metals from the surface using multi drills in which recovering bioleaching fluids will be circulated. This second phase II will be proposed as a demonstrative project in the future call 2018. In demonstrative, this new in-situ bioleaching technology is expected to decrease the number of workers accidents in the mining industry compared to traditional underground mining.

Expected innovation outcomes: 
New processes
New technologies
Comments: 

In successful, BioMORE paradigm is expected to be :a revolution in mining techniques like deviate wells in mining; a new technology transferred from oil & gas industry to mining, mining technology coupled with advanced in-situ bioleaching methods, more secure methods decreasing rate per full-time workers.

Name of the coordinating organisation: 
Mineral Industry Research Organisation - MIRO
Country: 
United Kingdom
Entity profile: 
Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: 

WP8: Project management (administrative and technical); WP8: Management of dissemination and exploitation, promotion and PR issues, probably leading WP8; WP5: Contributing to all assessment activities, sustainability and green mining aspects; WP2: Contributing to risk assessment

Other partners: 
Name of partner: 
CNRS - GeoRessources, Nancy
Country: 
France
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
Partner will contribute to WP2 (Underground 3&4 Modeling, geological & geophysics data integration), and WP6 (Exploitation, Dissemination, Training & Education, promoting, public relations) and partners in WP3 (injection well stimulation), WP1 (optimizing bioleaching chemistry and stimulating processes), WP4 (Metal produc-tion, hydro-metallury aspects), WP7 (pre-feasibility and economic aspects)
Name of partner: 
Bangor University
Country: 
United Kingdom
Entity profile: 
Academia
Role within the commitment: 
Partner with responsibility for WP1(Biotechnology, optimizing bioleaching chemistry and stimulating processes), but also in WP4 (Metal production, hydrometallury aspects), wP5 (Environmental impact and sustainability assessment, site closure post operation in situ safe-guarding, green mining aspects), WP6(Exploitation, dissemination, training & education, promoting, public relations), and WP7(economical aspects)
Name of partner: 
DMT GmbH & Co. KG
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: 
Partner with responsibility for WP6 (Exploitation, dissemination, training & education, promoting, public relations) as well as participation in WP2 (Underground modeling, geological & geophysical data integration) and WP3 (Reactor design, well design, exploration, core drilling and sampling Injection well stimulation) DMT commits his participation in the mentioned project BioMOre as one of the research&development partners with particular contribution to the WPs 2,3 and 6 (see 4.2.4). As DMT is not an SME we expect to get EU funding on a rate of 50%. We confirm that we are willed and prepared to take over the other 50% of our commitment by our own. We will do this by in kind contributions, human resources and use of existing facilities and tools. From today stage of the project we are not able to present our contribution in more detail. Depending on the final size of the project and the particular participation of DMT we will provide a detailed financial planning. The overall value of our participation will be between 500 k€ and 1.200 k€.
Name of partner: 
Kemakta Konsult AB / Privatly owned consultancy
Country: 
Sweden
Entity profile: 
Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: 
Partner with responsibility for WP5 (Environmental impact and sustainability assessment, site closure post operation in situ safe-guarding, green mining aspects) Environmental impact and sustainability assessment, site closure and post-operation safe-guarding, green mining aspects
Name of partner: 
Wroclaw University of Technology
Country: 
Poland
Entity profile: 
Academia
Role within the commitment: 
Partner: WP5, WP6
Name of partner: 
G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: 
Partner with responsibility for WP2 (site selection, Monitoring, risk assessment, 3&4D modeling, geophysical & geological data integration ). The commitment of G.E.O.S. comprises the participation in the project BioMOre as partner in research and development with potential contributions to WP1 (Monitoring, process modelling of microbiological processes) to WP2 (WP-leader, site selection and geological modelling, stress field modelling, frac propagation modelling and leaching process models including microbiological processes), to WP3 (Design of test reactor, modelling of leaching and verification), to WP4 (Biotechnology: optimizing the biogeochemistry) and WP5 (Site closure, post operation, in situ-safe-guarding and inertisation, risk assessment based on the modelling results of WP2).
Name of partner: 
Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Department of Chemistry and Bioengineering
Country: 
Finland
Entity profile: 
Academia
Role within the commitment: 
Laboratory research and development for work packages 1 (bioleaching) and 5 (environmental control)
Name of partner: 
Instytut Metali Niezelaznych - Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals
Country: 
Poland
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
Running activities related to WP4 - metal production, hydrometallurgical studies, 5 - environmental assessment, 6 - dissemination, training, PR, potentially also WP2 - e.g. heavy duty aeration, WP7 economical aspects
Name of partner: 
Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
The main task of the BGR work package is a thorough analysis of the in situ microbial community in the terrestrial deep biosphere (exploration of boreholes) as well as the monitoring of the bioleaching communities during the in situ leaching operations (WP1,3,6)
Name of partner: 
SELOR eeig
Country: 
Netherlands
Entity profile: 
Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: 
SELOR is committed to the BioMore project and will contribute in WPs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and if required will contribute to the dissemination aspects. SELOR will develop micro analytical devices which can be injected into the subsurface where metal leaching will take place and give analysis of the subsurface brines communicated by near field transmissions and other means to the surface for monitoring of the leaching process. Such devices can also be used in the monitoring of metal precipitation in the surface environment or laboratory.
Name of partner: 
KGHM Kuupfer AG
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: 
Industry partner - WP2-3; KGHM Kupfer AG posseses an exploration license for Weisswasser area in south-east part of Saxony (areas: Weisswasser and Weisswasser II) till the border with Poland, where are made exploration works (drilling and geophysical measurements); within the scope of WP2-3 it is possible to build on these area two drilling-holes with pilot installation for biofracking, where the results of tests on situ in KGHM Polska Miedź could be used
Name of partner: 
KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.
Country: 
Poland
Entity profile: 
Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: 
Partner responsible fro WP3 (Reactor design, well design, exploration, core drilling and sampling Injection well stimulation) Administration work for repairing applications for mining and environmental permits for bioleaching operations in mine and in the Weisswasser area (localization for pilot installation with description of deposit, consulting of mining, conception and designing the installations for exploitation and copper production during the bioleaching process), supervision, coordination of works (underground - KGHM Polska, in the area Weisswasser - Kupfer).
Name of partner: 
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
Research partner, collaborator involved in WP1, 3, 4, and 7
Name of partner: 
Institute of Drilling Engineering and Fluid Mining, Geotechnical Institute, TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
Research partner, collaborator, esp. in WP3, 6, and 7
Name of partner: 
Institute of Resource Ecology (IRE), Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
WP3 Research partner, collaborator
Name of partner: 
Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza im. St. Staszica w Krakowie
Country: 
Poland
Entity profile: 
Academia
Role within the commitment: 
geology, geophysics, drilling, stimulation, injection, reservoir modelling and simulation, in situ monitoning (WP2, WP3)
Name of partner: 
KGHM CUPRUM Ltd. Research and Development Centre
Country: 
Poland
Entity profile: 
Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: 
Environmental protection aspects related with the underground test, as well as participation in the final test evaluation from environmental and technical point of view. Support of activities related with the underground reactor at KGHM (WP3, WP5)
Name of partner: 
Umwelt- und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH Dresden /Engineering in water technology, (bio-) hydrometallurgy, geological exploration, and environmental monitoring
Country: 
Germany
Entity profile: 
Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: 
Industrial partner with responsibility for WP7 (Pre-feasibility study, economic evaluation, next step for pilot plant ) also contribution in WP4, 5, and 6
Name of partner: 
GA Drilling
Country: 
Slovakia
Entity profile: 
Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: 
Involvement in WP3: R&D and optimization of our drilling and exploration technique for BioMore project´s specifity
Name of partner: 
HATCH
Country: 
United Kingdom
Entity profile: 
Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: 
Partner with responsibility for WP4 (Metal Production, hydrometallurgy aspects of metal recovery), and partners in WP3 (Reactor design) and WP7 (Pre-feasibility study, economic evaluation, next steps for pilot plant), will contribut to all WP to asssit that test are done and data is collected so that it is scalable to pilot size facility. The objective of this WP is to develop the most cost effective design for a small pilot plant to separate and recover the metals and regenerate the leach solutions. Work will include: process concept development, trade-off studies (3 options), mass and energy balance, process flow diagram development, equipment sizing and selection, preliminary layout development, capex and opex for WP4. The following assumption has been considered for WP4: 1) Primary product would be copper cathode produced by electrowining, 2) WP4 will be developed to an advanced FEL1 (FEL 1.5) level accuracy, 3) Any contribution to other work packages are excluded from the following budget estimate Contribution to other WP: Developing the CAPEX & OPEX. Practical experience on Well Simulation (modelling with Petrel & Eclipse), Hydrogeology (well hydraulics & simulations) & biotechnology & other options (metal recovery, recovery, leaching separation). Can provide senior technical review to KGHM, GEOS & others Experience with test work planning, data collection for commercial scale up of base metal leaching, separation and recovery systems and their economic evaluation. Experience in determining if the technology is economically viable and conducting work to make projects reliable and economically viable.
Name of partner: 
BRGM
Country: 
France
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
Optimization of the bioleaching (design of the bioreactor/thermodynamics/process integration). Mineralogical and chemical characterization of the ore, including organic matter before and after the bioleaching process ; secondary minerals produced during the process. Risk analysis: combination of the possible risks events (i.e. risk scenarios) associated with the fracturing process both during injection operations and in the post-closure phase; Modeling of the most critical risk scenarios identified.
Name of partner: 
Cobre Las Cruces
Country: 
Spain
Entity profile: 
Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: 
Partner for WP2 (tests on a operating mine environment) and WP4 (Bioleaching test simulating underground pressure and temperature)
Name of partner: 
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Country: 
Finland
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
VTT can contribute by bioprospecting the deep biosphere, and connecting the biological data from the deep subsurface to the mineralogical data. VTT can do bioleaching experiments and process development, and development of hydrometallurgical metals recovery methods. Also environmental impact assesment and modelling work can be carried out.
Name of partner: 
GTK - Geological Survey of Finland
Country: 
Finland
Entity profile: 
Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: 
Partner for WP5 Evaluation of the effects of the methods developed on the sustainability parameters, environmental impact, economic impact and social situation including, site closure, post operation, in situ safeguarding and green mining aspects
Existing EU contribution: 
No
Period to implement the commitment: 
Thursday, 1 January, 2015 to Monday, 31 December, 2018