NWE-REGENERATIS - REGENERATIon of Past Metallurgical Sites and Deposits through innovative circularity for raw materials

Project Summary

According to JRC (2013), metal working industry represents 13 % of the 2.5 m Potential Contaminated Sites (PCS) in the EU. Consequently, a significant amount of their produced waste was deposited in landfills (37.2% of all PCS). Assessing these figures reveals approx.100.000 sites with a recovery potential of metals.
While recent metallic waste streams are usually treated, older waste (aggregated material with high ferrous metal content, scrap, other metals, white and black slags and other streams) are considered as a source of pollution, expensive to manage/eliminate. REGENERATIS aims to transform this problem into an opportunity, as large volumes of resources (metals, materials & land) from Past Metallurgical Sites and Deposits (PMSD) can be recovered by urban-mining. In order to implement this in NWE, REGENERATIS tackles the sectoral and contextual barriers. The main challenge for stakeholders is the environmental risk&the profitability of recovery processes. Currently all PMSD are managed within a remediation strategy focused on environmental impact/risk. In NWE region PCS inventories are inadequate, as they lack relevant data on the economic potential (quantity, quality & materials value). Traditional exploration methods are not focused on raw materials recovery.
REGENERATIS delivers an evidence-based solution implemented & tested on 3 sites (including innovative characterization by geophysics, innovative recovery processes guidance, artificial intelligence algorithm), promotes an Harmonized Inventory Structure, and supports new business models for resource recovery from PMSD, by using open source 4D Smart Tool (SMARTIX). Impact is guaranteed by long-term involvement of all REGENERATIS partners/ associated partners to convince stakeholders. Beneficiaries are public&private PMSD owners, managers&operators.10 years after:  60 raw materials recovery projects  launched on PMSD throughout NWE, 3 m t of valuable materials recovered & 3000 jobs created.

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Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Société Publique d'Aide à la Qualité de l'Environnement 38 Bd. d'Avroy
c.neculau@spaque.be www.spaque.be
Name Contact Name Email Country
Materials Processing Institute Alan Scholes alan.scholes@mpiuk.com United Kingdom
Centre Technologique International de la Terre et de la Pierre Antoine Masse antoine.masse@ctp.be Belgium
Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières Jean-Christophe Gourry jcgourry@brgm.eu France
Université de Liège Frederic Nguyen f.nguyen@uliege.be Belgium
IXSANE Tristan Debuigne Tristan.debuigne@ixsane.com France
Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij Kris van Looy kris.van.looy@ovam.be Belgium
TEAM2 Moïse Vouters m.vouters@team2.fr France
Technische Hochschule Köln Christian Wolf christian.wolf@th-koeln.de Germany
Bergischer Abfallwirtschaftsverband (BAV) Pascal Beese-Vasbender pbv@bavmail.de Germany
Cranfield University Stuart Wagland s.t.wagland@cranfield.ac.uk United Kingdom


Bioleaching metal-bearing wastes and by-products for resource recovery: a review

Posted on

The global transition to a circular economy calls for research and development on technologies facilitating sustainable resource recovery from wastes and by-products. Metal-bearing materials, including electronic wastes, tailings, and metallurgical by-products, are increasingly viewed as valuable resources, with some possessing comparable or superior quality to natural ores. Bioleaching, an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to conventional hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical methods, uses microorganisms and their metabolites to extract metals from unwanted metal-bearing materials. The performance of bioleaching is influenced by pH, solid concentration, energy source, agitation rate, irrigation rate, aeration rate, and inoculum concentration. Optimizing these parameters improves yields and encourages the wider application of bioleaching. Here, we review the microbial diversity and specific mechanisms of bioleaching for metal recovery. We describe the current operations and approaches of bioleaching at various scales and summarise the influence of a broad range of operational parameters. Finally, we address the primary challenges in scaling up bioleaching applications and propose an optimisation strategy for future bioleaching research. Read More

NWE-REGENERATIS - Geophysical survey campaign at Teesworks site, UK

Posted on

Members of the project team have recently visited Teesworks to inspect the former Tata Steel landfill located there which is estimated to be more than 95% steel slag. (With operation ceasing in July 2002). In order to characterise the structure and type of metallurgical wastes, a team of geophysicists from BRGM and the University of Liège accompanied by members of MPI and Cranfield University conducted a geophysical survey on the Teesworks site. From 17th to 24th May. Read More


Posted on

The NWE-REGENERATIS project (Interreg North-West Europe), coordinated by SPAQUE, aims at demonstrating that resources (metals, minerals and land) can be recovered from Past Metallurgical Sites and Deposits (PMSDs) by Urban Mining techniques. CTP's involvement in the project consists essentially of evaluating the metals recovery potential from three metallurgical sites, located in Belgium, France and UK , by applying mineral processing techniques. Read More


Webinar - workshop: Barriers and obstacles at a legal/organizational level in the valorization of Past Metallurgical Sites and Deposits.

, Online

According to the JRC (2013), metallurgical industry represents 13 % of the 2.5 million Potential Contaminated Sites (PCS) in the EU. Consequently, a significant amount of their produced waste was deposited on site/landfills (37.2% of all PCS). REGENERATIS aims to transform this problem into an opportunity, as large volumes of resources (metals, materials & land) from Past Metallurgical Sites and Deposits (PMSD) can be recovered. In order to implement this vision, REGENERATIS tackles the sectoral and contextual barriers.
Read More

2023-03-28 - Intersol - Valorisation de sols contaminés ou non pour la production de biomasses – retour d’expérience du projet REGENERATIS sur les friches métallurgiques et application des résultats obtenus aux problématiques d’agriculture urbaine

, Lille, France

L’objectif de cette communication est donc de présenter de potentielles pistes de reconversion de zones non cultivées, et potentiellement contaminées, pour la production de biomasses dites « high-tech » (production de biomasse pour la synthèse de catalyseurs biossourcés) et « low-tech » (productions alimentaires) tout en s’assurant de la compatibilité sanitaire en lien avec l’usage envisagé.
Read More

Join the Group of stakeholders and/or subscribe to the NWE-REGENERATIS Newsletter

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Here you will find all the newsletters of the project. 

Newsletter N°8 - June 2023

To have access to the first 6 newsletters please contact : Lise Debruyne

Here you will find communication elements of the project. 

Consult the e-library


NWE-REGENERATIS Open Access Platform

NWE-REGENERATIS intends to create a powerful interaction between stakeholders who initiate resource recovery driven projects from past metallurgical sites and deposits. NWE-REGENERATIS fosters the visibility of private/public owners of PMSD and the soil remediation and materials recovery sector. Therefore, NWE-REGENERATIS offers an Open Access Platform, which is especially addressed to site owners and site managers, environmental service providers and valorisation providers as well as other interested stakeholders to boost the regeneration of past metallurgical sites and deposits. On the Open Access Platform stakeholders can provide information as well as learn about sites, environmental services and valorisation technologies.


Are you interested in initiating resource recovery or remediation projects and want to learn more about raw materials recovery from PMSD? Please subscribe to the NWE-REGENERATIS Open Access Platform here.


NWE-SMARTX is an open source application based on artificial intelligence that suggests innovative valorization paths for the materials present on former metallurgical sites and deposits; the valorised materials can be: minerals, metals and eco-catalysts.


Objective: give technical recommendations for valorisation based on the site and material characteristics

Content: 5 distinct predictive modules have been developed: Geophysics, Metals, Minerals, Excavation, and Eco-catalysis

These modules recommend to the user:

  • Geophysical methods that can be applied in order to gain better knowledge of the volume and location of residues on the metallurgical sites (Geophysics),
  • Civil engineering methods aiming to optimize the excavation and pre-treatment of materials (Excavation),
  • Valorisation methods based on site characteristics, material volumes, and types of materials present on site (Mineral, Metal, Eco-catalyst).



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