Circular mining is now a reality thanks to the LIFE Remine Water project

· The European LIFE Remine Water project concludes, demonstrating the technical, environmental and economic viability of processes and technologies that contribute to the circular economy through the recovery of resources and the reuse of water in the mining industry.
· After five years of research, this initiative closes with a meeting that will bring together representatives of the public-private sector to discuss the challenges and solutions in water management, waste and the recovery of critical materials in mining.


The LIFE Remine Water R&D&I project, led by Cetaqua and financed by the LIFE Programme of the European Commission, held its final event “Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Mining” last week. A meeting that took place in Seville brought together more than 70 representatives of the public administration, companies and the scientific and academic sector to debate the challenges and solutions in the management of resources (water and waste) in mining.

This event has been a fantastic opportunity to present the results and conclusions obtained from the project, as well as to publicize other success stories that bring the circular economy closer to the mining sector, such as the REECOVERY, METALLICO, SUBPRODUCTS4LIFE and BRINE MINING projects.

Revolutionizing the mining industry: from linear to circular

The mining sector is a large consumer of water in Europe. Therefore, its management is essential. LIFE Remine Water seeks to advance the transition towards a more circular model in the mining sector by developing innovative treatment solutions supported by renewable energies to promote resource recovery and water reuse in the industry.

This event symbolizes the end of five years of research that has allowed us to demonstrate a more environmentally and economically sustainable process. In this sense, the water treatment developed at LIFE Remine Water “has made it possible to minimize discharge into the environment by recovering more than 90% of the water so it can be reused. In addition to this reuse, the ion exchange technology of the second treatment line has allowed us to recover more than 90% of the copper and 50% of the zinc present in acidic streams rich in metals,” said Lidia Fernandez Rojo, project manager of LIFE Remine Water.

The round table, which closed the event, was attended by representatives of the public-private sector, such as Manuel Vázquez, technical advisor of the General Directorate of Mines of the Junta de Andalucía; Diego Davoise, member of the AMINER Innovation Commission and head of Metallurgy and R&D at Atalaya Mining; Daniel Vázquez, head of Business Development in Andalusia and Extremadura at Veolia Spain, and Alicia Palomo, coordinator of the LIFE Remine Water project at Sandfire Matsa.

The central theme focused on the need to continue investing in converting the wastes “which until now was considered the unusable part of the mineral” into valuable resources to contribute to the circular economy of the mining sector. This was preceded by an ideation session in which the challenges and opportunities of future mining could be discussed, taking into account economic, environmental and regulatory aspects.

Finally, Marina Arnaldos, Director of Growth and Solutions at Cetaqua, closed the event by thanking the interest “not only in carrying out these R&D&I projects but also in promoting their scalability so that the technologies being developed end up implementing.” Likewise, she referred to the talent that this new approach to resource recovery can attract “since new opportunities open up around different areas of knowledge and specializations.”

Cetaqua’s commitment to sustainable mining in Europe

Cetaqua Water Technology Center has led the LIFE Remine Water project. This initiative, co-financed by the Life Programme of the European Commission, has also had the participation of Sandfire Matsa, where the Mining Water Living Lab is located, the first experimental platform for technological experimentation in water treatment in the mining sector; the Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals of Poland (IMN), which has been in charge of studying the replicability of the process in the mining and metallurgical industry; and the French company Newheat, specialized in the implementation of solar thermal energy projects in industries, in charge of demonstrating the economic viability of the use of this type of energy in water treatment processes in the mining sector.

This initiative has been the spearhead of a portfolio of R&D&I projects that Cetaqua has led and contributed to promoting, in line with the growing need for the recovery of critical raw materials and valuable metals that the European Commission demands. Examples of this are the REECOVERY, RESILEX or METALLICO projects that not only seek effective treatment of acidic mine water or process waste streams but also seek the economic sustainability of said processes through the recovery of metal sulfides, rare earth or cobalt.