What we solve
Local resources to replace imports
The EU consumes 25-30% of the world’s ore production, but only extracts 3% itself. This is due to the low percentage of high-quality and pure minerals in deposits in the EU, which leads to a critically high dependency on supplies from other countries. At the same time, the ever-increasing import of raw materials leads to expensive long-distance transport with enormous CO2 production, which soon no one will be able to pay for it. And as a consequence, further environmental hazards arise, either locally due to the conventional dangerous mining and processing methods used, or in the supplier countries where no one cares about minimum standards.
Using and upgrading local resources (primary or secondary) of minerals and metals through ecological processes can counteract the supply risk and at the same time reduce the environmental risks. Bioleaching with our microlive® bacterial consortia and the corresponding ekocomplex® nutrients can be used for this purpose in the extraction of metals and other elements. Industrial minerals can be cleaned, local resources upgraded to high quality and purity without harming the environment.
Biomining has been widespread for 50 years but has unfortunately mainly only been used to extract copper and gold from sulfidic ores. Around 5% of the global gold supply and 20% of the copper are currently extracted using biomining. In addition to copper and gold production, cobalt, nickel, zinc and uranium are also extracted from sulphides – but the possibilities go far beyond these elements and sulphides.
Our different bacterial consortia microlive® can extract a large number of metals, metalloids and non-metals from various raw materials (oxides, silicates, hydroxides, carbonates, etc.) in an ecological way. We have registered our technology as an EU patent on ecological release of elements and degradation of organic substances using heterotrophic microorganisms, confirmed in its applicability to over 100 different materials.