FAME: Development of flexible and mobile processes for the production of critical metals from deposits in Europe

12.15.2015
The European FAME project is working to support the extraction of European mineral resources, and to enhance the competitiveness of European mining enterprises. The aim is to address the technical, economic and environmental issues arising from the extraction of minerals from deposits of the greisen, pegmatite and skarn type that contain critical metals such as tungsten, niobium and indium, as well as lithium, tin and tantalum.

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The European FAME project (Flexible And Mobile Economic Processing Technologies) is funded through the European Horizon 2020 call for research projects (Grant Agreement n° 641650).The aim is to support the extraction of European mineral resources and enhance the competitiveness of European mining enterprises.

Europe has a large number of mineral deposits of the greisen, pegmatite and skarn type, which contain critical metals such as tungsten, niobium and indium as well as lithium, tin and tantalum. Extracting these minerals raises considerable challenges as the deposits are complex and very scattered, and often have low metal concentrations. The FAME project will address the technical, economic and environmental issues that arise from working these deposits. To do so, it will implement a holistic approach and seek to use flexible and possibly mobile technologies that can ensure economically viable extraction of these resources and minimise the social and environmental impacts that arise.

The project began in January 2015. It is co-ordinated by Wardell Armstrong International Ltd (UK) and involves 17 partners, including the BRGM, from several European countries (Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden and UK). The consortium includes 9 industrial companies, of which 8 are SMEs.

Supporting the extraction of European mineral resources and enhancing the competitiveness of European mining enterprises.

The main project activities will aim to:

  • develop solutions for the extraction of primary and secondary metals contained in mineral ores of the greisen, pegmatite and skarn type;
  • develop flexible and mobile technologies to extract metals from European deposits;
  • enhance the competitiveness of European mining enterprises.

The solutions developed will be demonstrated at six selected reference sites in Europe. The FAME project aims to achieve a high level of technological maturity for the solutions developed (TRL 5-6). The environmental, social and political impact of the solutions will also be assessed.

Photo of Research flowchart for the FAME project. © FAME

Research flowchart for the FAME project. © FAME

Under this project, the BRGM will be implementing its expert knowledge on mineral processing, particularly on fragmentation, concentration (magnetic separation, gravity separation and centrifuging) and bio-hydro-metallurgy, working in close cooperation with its partners to identify the processing principles most suited to the extraction of the minerals targeted. To do so, tests will also be conducted at the laboratory and pilot scale at the BRGM's pilot processing facility.

Photo of The BRGM's experimental pilot facility (Orléans, 2015). © Laurent Mignaux - MEDDE

The BRGM's experimental pilot facility (Orléans, 2015). © Laurent Mignaux - MEDDE