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Critical metals (CM) and rare earth elements (REE)

Contact us to understand your impact and to safeguard your business for the future!

​CMs including REEs provide solutions for new clean technologies. These materials provide functionality and properties for high technology applications. These elements are subject to supply risk in the EU and other developed countries and the demand for them is growing. 

Our research provides customized solutions, improves resource efficiency for your technologies by finding better recoveries of CMs from material streams and more efficient uses. 

Industrial Experience with Academic Background

Our experts have years of industrial and academic experience in metals processing technologies and selective recovery of metals from streams. 

Our competence covers hydrometallurgical and biohydrometallurgical processing methodology for CMs including REE leaching and recovery from different material feeds. Both primary and secondary feed materials including metals containing wastes and side streams are examined for better recovery of these scarce metals. Substitution research and environmental impact analyses are also carried out at VTT for CMs.

Hydrometallurgy Piloting and Modelling for Validation

Our Flexmet hydrometallurgical processing system consists of novel titanium reactors for leaching and precipitation including cementation stage, and continuous solvent extraction mixer-settler equipment.

The Flexmet pilot system can be used for both batch trials and continuous bench-piloting in a 1–5 L/h throughput scale. 

The experimental work is supported by in-house thermochemical modelling tools and customized flowsheet models for the client.

The main customer sector is the mining and metals processing industry, and recycling companies. 

VTT is deeply involved in raw material, critical metals, and REE affairs on EU advisory bodies in European Innovation Platform on Raw materials (EIP RM) and European Rare Earth Competence Network (ERECON). 

CMs including REEs are closely connected to new sustainable technologies development, green technology, strategic materials, resource efficiency, and the global economy. Understanding CM recovery processes and their role in value chains is essential.