Sustainable In-Situ Resource Estimation and Environmental Remediation Mining Areas of Saxony

Tailings often pose an environmental hazard but at the same time represent a source for elements of value that in the past either could not be extracted efficiently enough or were not demanded by the industry.

At the tailing „Ehrenfriedersdorf“, the NIRUBIS project utilizes novel tools and analytical methods for evaluating the resources of raw materials and the potential of contaminants.

The data acquisition is based on in-situ tools and real time data processing. A hydraulically advanced probe (Metal Probing Tool = MPT) allows for continuous screening of element concentrations by using x-ray fluorescence. Other probes and methods measure hydraulical and geotechnical parameters within the tailing material.

The identified element concentrations will be linked to comprehensive particle based and mineralogical data transferred to a 3D model and processed further geostatistically considering differentiated sedimentary bodies.

In a further step, the bioleaching potential of valuable metals and contaminants will be evaluated and quantified by using sample material.

The project will develop the new combination of approaches and methods for providing a database for secondary mining and contaminant recovery / containment from mine tailings.

The NIRUBIS project contributes to a deep understanding of tailing bodies and builds the economic basis for feasibility studies of in-situ recovery of valuable elements. The overriding target is the transferability and scalability of the methodology to other locations in the region and worldwide.

Project Overview

  • Time span
    est. from 01.04.2021 to 31.03.2023
  • Pseudonym
  • Project type
    Environmental Remediation and Secondary Mining of Tailings

R & D Locations

Reusable Materials


Geccotec GmbH

Axel Opperman

Phone: +49 (0) 172 5424573

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Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) will celebrate its birthday together with Saxonian Minister President Michael Kretschmer and interested guests on September 9, 2021. The number 10 plays an important role for both the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF). In addition to the 10-year affiliation of the HZDR with the Helmholtz Association, the HIF looks back on 10 very successful years at the research location of Freiberg. Furthermore, the HIF inaugurates its new metallurgy pilot plant on September 9, 2021. The inauguration marks another milestone in the development of a unique campus for resource technology and progresses sustainability steadily at HIF. The HIF will celebrate this progress and cordially invites you!

The new metallurgy pilot plant at HIF. ©HZDR/599Media

Can the recycling of mining waste become a new business? That was the main question addressed in the Lunch Event & Debate organised by the Horizon2020 NEMO project on April 27, 2021.

Video link:

You can find more information on the website of the project Nemo (

Eight partner from science and industry participate in the research project “TerZinn – Technologieentwicklung und Erprobung für nachhaltiges Wassermanagement und additive Rohstoffgewinnung am Modellstandort Zinnerzgrube Ehrenfrieders-dorf“: Zinnerz Ehrenfriedersdorf GmbH, G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Wis-mut GmbH, BIT Tiefbauplanung GmbH, ibes AG, Kurt-Schwabe-Institut für Mess- und Sensortechnik Meinsberg e.V., TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS. The Federal Ministry of Edu-cation and Research (BMBF) funds the project with around one million euros. TER-ZINN belongs to the alliance “recomine – rethinking resources”, which works on the subject of mining waste at the intersection of environmental technology, resource technology and digitalization.

Complete press release:

On 18th of February 2021 the recomine-project TERZinn starts as the first of currently eight selected projects of the first recomine-call. Over the next three years, a digital underground measurement system will be developed and tested in the historic Ehrenfriedersdorf mine site. Newly developed sensors will record current information from the incoming mine water and pass it on to a modular water treatment system, which will then decide how heavily the water needs to be treated depending on the water contamination (e.g. with Arsenic). The system will then be further developed for use in the Ore Mountains and around the world, and will sustainably improve water quality in many mining regions.