The REEcover project aims to:

  • Improve European supply of the critical Rare Earth Elements Y, Nd, Tb and Dy
  • Strengthen SME positions in REE production and recovery value chain
  • Innovate and research two different routes for hydro/pyro metallurgical recovery of REEs: as Rare Earth Oxides (REO) or Rare Earth Oxy-Carbides (REOC) in electrolytic reduction
  • Demonstrate and compare viability and potential for these routes on two different types of deposited industrial wastes:
    • tailings from the iron ore industry (high volume but low concentration of REE)
    • magnetic waste material from the WEEE recycling industry (low volume but high concentration REE)

REE’s in WEEE-products end up in magnetic waste and subsequently in slag or dust from steelmaking or base metal smelters. During iron ore production of magnetite concentrates tailings are removed and deposited. Both waste streams have potential of becoming valuable feedstock.
In WP1, LKAB, NEP & IM, providing input streams, will collaborate with LTU & NTNU to increase the REE concentration by physical separation, leading to low-grade REE-bearing input streams for WP2&3. In WP2, ChemConserve supported by TUD & TECNALIA aim to hydrometallurgically extract REEs from WP1-input as individual REOs or their mixtures. Elemetal will upscale and demonstrate the technology in pilot facilities. This is input for LCM in WP4, that with SINTEF &TUD will optimise an industrial fluoride based electrolytic process for production of RE metals and alloys.