SEArcularMINE, a €6 million Research and Innovation project funded under EU Horizon 2020, officially launched its activities, working towards developing leading technologies to ensure the sustainable supply of raw materials for key industrial value chains in Europe.

We will prototype an innovative integrated process aimed at recovering energy and critical raw materials such as magnesium, lithium, rubidium and other trace elements from waste brines in Mediterranean basin saltworks
Professor Andrea Cipollina, project coordinator

The team is composed of 12 partner organisations from universities, research institutes, SMEs and multinationals from Europe and the wider Mediterranean basin. Led by the University of Palermo in Sicily, the project’s activities were initiated with a meeting on 24 June 2020 where the plans for the next four years were discussed. Europe currently depends on imports of raw materials that are critical for economic development.

The minerals targeted by SEArcularMINE are increasingly needed in a range of high growth industrial sectors including advanced battery technology and plastics alongside pharmaceutical and medical applications.

As the market leader, China supplies more than 85% of global magnesium demand*. The project will contribute towards lowering the dependency of Europe on imports, especially for the materials that have been classified by the European Commission (EC) as Critical Raw Materials (CRM).

Harvesting minerals from the sea through sustainable approaches which are environmentally friendly and economically competitive is one of the most ambitious challenges and most promising options for alternative mining
Professor Giorgio Micale of University of Palermo.