The mining industry is constantly striving to improve the environmental performance and sustainability of their operations. In Sweden, the mining industry uses 38Mm3 of process water annually. Existing technologies for sulfate removal from water require high energy inputs, use large volumes of reagents and generate large quantity of waste products.
Innovation: EARTO Member RISE Research Institutes of Sweden developed an energy and resource efficient biological process to reduce water footprint from the Swedish mining industry. This novel process enables efficient reduction of sulfate emissions in cold climate when temperatures are below 10⁰C, which was previously considered not feasible. RISE’s innovation enables recirculation of water without generating waste products.
Impact Expected: This innovation allows production of clean water with up to 95% sulfate reduction. It also allows increase of resource efficiency for the mining industry, having the potential to save 19Mm3 of water per year in Sweden. RISE’s innovation could reduce generation of solid waste by 100kton per year, compared to current technologies. The project has a €3,000M estimated target market annually, with an industrial consortium committed to facilitate its implementation. In the future it could be exported to other mining and metal industries in Europe and worldwide.