As the global population grows and the climate warms, water scarcity is raising mounting concerns for food production in the 21st century. The challenge cannot be met without engaging with industry. Guzzling about 40% of the water consumed in the EU, industrial players are some of the main users and polluters of water resources. Mining and quarrying currently produces 7% of all wastewater discharged in the EU. The sector relies on plentiful water supplies to separate ores and metals from rocks and transport raw materials to processing sites. It has a vested interest in recycling the water that it uses. Furthermore, economies of scale in the industry offer unparalleled opportunities for pioneering water saving and recovery technologies prior to their broader roll-out.
The goal of the REMINE-WATER project is to conserve water resources and protect natural environments from salt discharged in industrial brines. A new set of water treatment technologies will purify salty effluents from mining and metallurgy operations. Project partners will design, build and operate these technologies in facilities used for processing minerals. A new take on a technology known as ultra-high-pressure reverse osmosis will notably reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by current wastewater treatment techniques, in line with the Industrial Emissions Directive. The technologies fielded in the project will remove salt from industrial brine and also extract acids and metals to offer them a second life, supporting the EU circular economy strategy and the roadmap to a resource efficient Europe.