Raw Materials

PDAC 2021: Discover ION4RAW and other H2020 projects at the World’s Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention

The World’s Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining convention

PDAC 2021 has now started. From March 8 to 11, the World’s Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention will hold its 89th edition. Though the Convention usually takes place in Toronto, Canada, it is going online for the 2021 edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated sanitary and travel restrictions. This will allow attendees and speakers to participate from everywhere in the world.

The PDAC Convention provides mineral and mining professionals, as well as investors, analysts, geologists, executives, government officials and students, access to an array of programming, short courses, presentations and unparalleled networking opportunities.The four-day annual convention held in Toronto, Canada, has grown in size, stature and influence since it began in 1932 and today is the event of choice for the world’s mineral industry.

EU Research to be highlighted at PDAC

This year again, ION4RAW will be one of the EU H2020 projects that will be showcased. The EU is participating in a Trade Show with 9 virtual booths, where H2020 projects related to raw materials will be featured. We are proud to share the project objectives and results with such an international audience and along with other H2020 projects.

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ION4RAW is now featured on the RMIS Platform

ION4RAW is now part of the EU-funded project to be featured on the RMIS platform. What does this mean? Why is it important? Let’s find out!

What is the RMIS Platform?

The European Commission’s Raw Materials Information System (RMIS) is developed by the Directorate-General (DG) Joint Research Centre (JRC) in cooperation with the DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROWTH). The RMIS is the Commission’s reference web-based knowledge platform on non-fuel, non-agricultural raw materials from primary and secondary sources.

As stressed in the 2008 European Union (EU) Raw Materials Initiative (RMI) and further recognised by the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on raw materials (EIP-SIP), raw materials are essential for the sustainable and sound functioning of Europe’s industries. The EC is committed to promote the competitiveness of industries related to raw materials. These industries play important roles in many downstream sectors in Europe, such as construction, defence, chemicals, automotive, aerospace, machinery, equipment and renewable energy devices. Securing undistorted access to raw materials – in particular, critical raw materials (CRM) – is crucial to stimulate investment in innovation and new technologies.

In that context, the RMIS provides a structured repository of knowledge related to non-fuel, non-agricultural raw materials from primary and secondary sources. The overarching goal of the RMIS is to facilitate:

  • the availability, coherence and quality of knowledge required by specific EU raw materials policies and EC services;
  • access to key raw materials information from knowledge bases within and beyond Europe.

Specific parts of the RMIS support access to in-depth knowledge on the topics most relevant to the European and International raw materials context, such as Critical Raw Materials (CRM), secondary raw materials (SRM), economics and trade, and stocks and flows of raw materials, as well as analyses of aspects of environmental and social sustainability related to raw materials.

With the aim of establishing a continuous exchange of knowledge with national, EU-level and global knowledge providers, the RMIS includes the ‘Raw materials knowledge gateway’, which is a virtual space for providers for consolidating, expanding and increasing the visibility of raw materials-related knowledge.

ION4RAW on the Platfom

Several EU-funded projects related to raw materials are featured on the RMIS platform to advertise their work and findings. ION4RAW is now part of them, thus enabling a wider exposure for the project and its results within the European raw materials community.

To access it, click on the “European Level” Button, then “EU funded project” and select ION4RAW from the dropdown list. The ION4RAW page presents an overview of the project and its activities. It includes details about the work conducted within each work package as well as highlights from the work that has already been completed.

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Discover the first ION4RAW public results

The ION4RAW project is progressing and its first publics results are now available. Discover the upcoming “Mapping of by-product potential in mineral deposits” and “Technical note and methodology guide for sampling and sample preparation” conducted by BRGM.

Evaluating by-products potential

These first public results of the project are part of Work Package 2, which is in charge of displaying an extensive and comprehensive evaluation of by-products potential – Bismuth, Germanium, Indium, Cobalt, Platinium and Antomony – in Gold-Silver, Copper and Copper-Gold deposits. Increasing knowledge by compiling data on the by-product’s concentrations and distribution in the EU ores, as well as mapping the location of the potential resources, are indeed keep-points to secure new potential European sources for the critical raw materials supply.

Indeed, reliability of supply in critical raw materials is one of the major challenges facing Europe. The availability of mineral resources is notably crucial for the deployment of low-carbon technologies and economic activities, in a context of climate change and global renewable energy policy, rapid growth of emerging economies as well as fast development of modern technologies that have led to a drastic upsurge in demand for a number of metals.

Mapping of by-products potential in mineral deposits

As ION4RAW aims to develop a new energy-, material- and cost-efficient mineral processing technology to recover by-products from primary sources, one of the first steps has been to produce a geographically-based compilation of the by-product occurrences and potential in Europe, in the form of a “Mapping of by-products potential in mineral deposits” conducted by BRGM. It compiles 1400 identified European occurrences for Cu, Au, Ag and Pb-Zn main commodities. This inventory allows economical assessment of potential resources as well as assessment of metallogenic processes related to these critical raw material endowments.

Figure 1. Distribution of the identified EU occurrences (n = 1400) showing identified ION4RAW targeted by-products classified according to their metallogenic family.

However, due to the heterogeneity of the existing databases and available knowledge on the entire European deposits and occurrences, a predictive assessment was performed for targeted elements, as they are not usually and/or automatically identified and/or (historically) assessed. To do so, the DataBase Querying DBQ approach (developed by the BRGM) was applied to the entire European dataset and allowed the determination of several areas of great interest for the prospection of the targeted by-products of the project. It allows potential identification of commodities, which are either rarely reported in analyses or through divers’ permit/deposit reports by mining companies. These areas can also be studied to identify major mine sites that might be interested in applying the mineral process, which would be developed through the study. For Peru, a compilation has been initiated with partners and offers a great dataset of the sites, which might be of great interested when it comes to the application of the process developed through ION4RAW.

Read the Mapping of by product potential in mineral deposits >>

A technical note and methodology guide for sampling and sample preparation

Alongside the “Mapping of by-products potential in mineral deposits”, a second deliverable has been produced as part of ION4RAW’s Work Package 2, where the sampling operations of the ores and pre-treatment steps before analysis are notably described.

Five deposits were selected for the project. Indeed, the ION4RAW process has to be tested on different samples as ionometallurgy is mineral specific. A detailed understanding of the mineralogy of the ores is therefore required to determine optimum processing routes for the product and by-product commodities.

The technical note and methodology guide presents the protocol for sampling and sample pre-treatment implemented in WP2 to be representative of the by-products that are naturally scattered in the ore rocks.

For each of the deposits, the report provides a deposit description (geographic, geologic and reserves), a description of the sampling operations for the ION4RAW project, and a pre-treatment chart to detail the sequence of the physical preparation steps required before analytical procedure. Sampling and preparation steps are essential to guarantee a reliable and valid analytical result.

Read the Technical note and methodology guide for sampling and sample preparation >>

Critical Raw Materials

WATCH: Our Mineral Processing Team Process Two Separate Concentrates at the Same Time


Our Mineral Processing Team is currently undertaking work as part of the Ion4Raw project, which is a European Union – Horizon 2020 funded project looking at the cost-effective recovery of by-products from primary sources.

As part of the study, a team in our laboratory in Truro, Cornwall, are processing samples containing both base and precious metals from a variety of sources in order to generate samples of concentrates for further testing using Deep Eutectic Solvent (DES) technology.

This current campaign is looking at the treatment of approximately 2.7 tonnes of polymetallic ore (Cu-Pb-Zn) from a Peruvian mine and involves the recovery of all three metals to recover two separate concentrate; copper + lead and zinc.

“In undertaking this work, we are using our existing pilot testing equipment in combination with various pieces of laboratory equipment which have been repurposed to operate on a continuous basis, specifically for this programme of work.” Says Associate Director, Ben Simpson. “In doing so, this is the first time that we have attempted to process two separate concentrates at the same time using our pilot plant and represents a key development in the capabilities that Wardell Armstrong is able to offer both to our research partners and commercial clients.”

Our expertise, combined with the mineral processing pilot plant facilities, is not commonly available in Europe and Wardell Armstrong is now firmly established as a centre of excellence and in high demand – not only by our current industrial clients but by research consortia across Europe. By participating in these high profile, multi Partner, multi-national research projects we can keep at the forefront of technological advances and remain the Partner of choice for many mining clients.

Watch the process on the video below:

Mineral Processing Technology


We are delighted to announce that we have recently published our first newsletter which was sent out directly to our list of subscribers. We aim to publish our newsletter annually to highlight the latest news and developments during the lifetime of the ION4RAW project. We will also include relevant meetings, publications and also information about the current work of each work package and how you might be able to get involved.

If you would like to receive our newsletter direct to your inbox please sign up to our newsletter clicking the button near the top of many of our pages. We are GDPR-compliant and will not share your information, you are also free to unsubscribe at anytime.


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Our first remote workshop focused on Intellectual Property (IP) & exploitation and was hosted by LGI

We had very positive feedback from our amazing partners from the ION4RAW project thought of our first virtual workshop focused on Intellectual Property (IP) & exploitation. We’re super thankful for their excellent participation. COVID19 forced us to adapt and find news way to work collaboratively, and everyone responded positively to the challenge! We worked very hard to make it a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone, and we’re glad it paid off!

The ION4RAW project is dedicated to developing a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly mineral processing technology to recover Critical Raw Materials by-products from primary sources.

In H2020 projects (and soon Horizon Europe), the Exploitation work package focuses on setting out a plan to ensure that the project results and their impact are maximised, while managing and protecting the project IP.

Together with 30 partners, our first session started with an hour-long IP webinar during which we introduced the concepts of Exploitation & IP in the context of H2020 projects.

This was first published on the LGI website.

Critical Raw Materials

ION4RAW goes to PDAC 2020: The World’s Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention

“Mining Investment Show”

PDAC 2020: The World’s Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention held from March 1-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada, marking its 88th year. In addition to bringing together over 1,000+ exhibitors, 2,500+ investors and 25,000+ attendees from 132 countries, it provides mineral and mining professionals, as well as investors, analysts, geologists, executives, government officials and students, access to an array of programming, short courses, presentations and unparalleled networking opportunities.

The four-day annual convention held in Toronto, Canada, has grown in size, stature and influence since it began in 1932 and today is the event of choice for the world’s mineral industry. ION4RAW will be one of the EU H2020 projects that will be showcased at the dedicated EU booth at the convention, we’re very excited to share our project objectives at such a large scale! We’re excited about the interest in EU research!



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ION4RAW clustering event: the green transition challenged by the metal supply chain

On March 12, 2020, ION4RAW along with other EU H2020 projects and other partners team up to organise a seminar on “The Green transition challenged by the metal supply chain”. A high level expert panel will discuss the current challenges in exploitation, processing and recycling of raw materials from different perspectives (coming from the private sector, NGO, academia, research institutions and international organisations). Participants will further enrich the reflection during an interactive debate, and filter out several recommendations towards the EC.

Date: March 12, 2020

Time: 13h30

Where: Flemish Parliament in Brussels.

The event ends with a networking reception. Registration is free of charge but mandatory. More information and details about the programme can be found online. Targeted participants are professionals from different sectors working on the above mentioned and related topics.

Critical Raw Materials

Our 6-month project meeting & General Assembly held in Paris

On the 11 and 12 November 2019, LGI (ION4RAW project partner) hosted the M6 Project Meeting & General Assembly of the ION4RAW project in Paris. During this two-day meeting, partners presented the work they have carried out so far for each of the work packages. During the meeting, achieved milestones were discussed and project partners discussed the plans for the coming period. They also covered the technical aspects of the project. Pertinent questions relating to the exploitation of the results that will be generated in the project were also debated upon.


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