What are the benefits of horizon mining

Urban mining

How can metals be extracted from a depth of over 1000 meters in an environmentally friendly way? The BIOMOre research project deals with this question. In doing so, methods and tools are developed that enable sustainable mining at this depth.

Experts predict a shortage of certain raw materials in the near future, although there are still enough deposits in Europe. But they are deeper than 1000 meters. In order to sustainably extract these ores, specialists from Europe, with the help of Canadian and South African colleagues, develop geotechnological and biogeochemical methods as well as design and build special tools as part of BIOMOre.

The aim of BIOMOre is to promote metals in an economically and ecologically optimized way by coupling solution mining and bioleaching. Bioleaching means leaching with the help of ore-oxidizing bacteria, which takes place directly at the deposit, i.e. underground. Bacteria replace the miners and release metals - previously unusable - material and make it usable.

The advantages of the new bioleaching technology are that there would be no earth movement, so no open holes and landfills and only minimal changes in the terrain. In addition, there would be hardly any noise, dust, greenhouse pollution or other emissions.

In order to ensure sustainable mining with a view to the future, the developers of the project, which is funded by the European Commission within the EU framework program Horizon 2020, must adhere to strict guidelines and indicators. With BIOMOre it is important to meet the needs of the present without burdening future generations with our waste.

If the theoretical results of the first underground tests and the economic assessment are positive, a second phase of the project is expected in which a pilot plant is to be built and operated.

BIOMOre is a project within the EU Research and Innovation program Horizon 2020, to extract metals from a depth of 1000 meters and more. Most amazingly it is done by bacteria and with very little impact on the environment.