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OptimOre project

Increasing yield on Tungsten and Tantalum ore production by means of advanced and flexible control on crushing, milling and separation process

The main objective of OPTIMORE is to optimize the crushing, milling and separation ore processing technologies for Tungsten and Tantalum mineral processing, by means of improved fast and flexible fine tuning production process control based on new software models, advanced sensing and deeper process physical study in creasing yield in 7-12% on the current best production processes, increasing energy saving on a 5% compared to the best available techniques

Modern economy is highly dependent on specific raw materials, and it is envisaged that this dependency will increase in the near future. Most of them are scarce in the EU and of poor purity, being mixed within complex and low grade aggregates which need to be processed by means of a separation process consuming high quantities of energy and water. In some cases this makes exploitation unfeasible due to excessive production costs. Being EU dependent on some of these materials, as identified by the EIP initiative, our society is demanding more efficient extracting processes to contribute to major European independence for these Critical Raw Materials (CRM).

The project seeks to apply intelligent technologies for more efficient and flexible Tantalum and Tungsten ores processing from crushing to separation processes, along with the participation of relevant international players in the field of mineral research. Tungsten and Tantalum ores are two recognized CRMs.

In a market currently dominated by China and Russia production (among others), in Europe Tungsten (limited) production is mostly concentrate into UK, Spain and Portugal. In contrast, Tantalum is a key element for electronics with clear EU external production dependency, as it is naturally scarce in Europe (only 1% of world production is concentrated in EU). Against this backdrop, the OptimOre Project proposes the research and development of modelling and control technologies, using advanced sensing and advanced industrial control.

 

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