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BrineRIS – Brines of RIS countries as a source of CRM and energy supply

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Limited access to critical raw materials (CRM) is the main obstacle to developing the high-tech and battery sectors. However, thanks to the striking development of efficient soluble elements recovery technologies, highly mineralised water (brine) is a potential unconventional source of metals. Usually occurring at great depths, under conditions of high pressure and hot temperatures, brines mineralised up to 300-350 g/L may contain economic concentrations of metallic elements, such as CRM from the EU 2021 list (Li, Mg, Sr), Na, Ba and others. Therefore, exploring non-obvious metals resources (such as geothermal brines) and innovative metals recovery technologies is necessary to ensure a sustainable and secure European supply of battery metals. It also supports European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) vision “to secure access to critical and strategic raw materials, advanced materials, and processing know-how for EU Industrial Ecosystems”.

The technology needed to recover metallic elements from brines is under development in several KAVA projects, e.g., EuGeLi or Morecovery. However, the location of brines with reliable and stable sources of metals is still an open question. Our BrineRIS project will locate brines in Europe suitable for economically feasible metal recovery and test the emerging recovery technologies in the lab. Focusing on RIS countries of the Iberian Peninsula and Visegrad Group, whose thermal brines resources are proven, the BrineRIS project will deliver verified information on brines enriched in Li and other valuable elements. Special attention will be paid to existing mine water inflows and operating geothermal wells.

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