To kick-off 2024, the BIORECOVER consortium met in Coimbra, Portugal for the BIORECOVER consortium meeting and the University of Coimbra’s Winter School. On Thursday 11th January, partners met at the Universidade de Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in Europe, to discuss updates in the BIORECOVER project. As the project is coming to its end, the main focus of the meeting was on the project’s objectives and how the different work packages were able to achieve these goals, challenges encountered and how future research could be employed to tackle these challenges.

During the first part of the day, partners had the opportunity to discuss the current state of the BIORECOVER project as well as prepare for the Final Meeting and event in Brussels at the end of February. For the latter part of the day, LGI, Sam Whittlesey, hosted a workshop for partners to map the key results from the project along the different stages of the process. Partners were invited to share how future research could continue to build on BIORECOVER results to improve the rates of recovery of critical raw materials (e.g., magnesium, platinum group metals, and rare earth elements). Partners had a great opportunity to dive into important discussions surrounding BIORECOVER and the wider world of microbial-based processes in responsible mining. This was followed by a consortium dinner in Coimbra for the partners to continue their discussions.


BIORECOVER Consortium Partners

The following morning was dedicated to the students at the Universidade de Coimbra who were partaking in a four-day Winter School. Sam Whittlesey from LGI hosted a workshop for the students, first presenting the BIORECOVER project and the current state of biomining at research and industry level as well as an overview of the geopolitical status of raw materials before diving into an innovative workshop for the students to explore biotechnologies capable of processing three different types of feedstocks: Sulphides, Carbonates, and Secondary Materials. The students divided into groups looking at these three feedstocks depending on their area of research and interest with a professor from the University or scientist from the BIORECOVER project to consult with. The task was to map specific raw material resources to relevant extraction and recovery methods whilst considering the sustainability of microbial based processes. Expected challenges were identified for these processes and the students were asked to illustrate possible solutions or future areas of research to tackle these challenges. The workshop yielded important and in-depth discussions among the students and professors and scientists about biomining: its drawbacks, opportunities, and the future of sustainable mining.

Winter School Workshop, hosted by BIORECOVER

Winter School Workshop, hosted by BIORECOVER

The two-day visit to Coimbra accomplished positive discussions on the progress and possible opportunities of biomining as well as provided the space for partners to discuss the BIORECOVER project as it comes to a close at the end of February 2024.