Urban mining - Cities as never-ending sources of raw materials

Across the globe, raw materials are becoming ever more scarce and more expensive. For many years, these mineral resources were exported to the industrial nations, where they were required for things such as computers, cell phones and cars. And now, the large cities can be compared to huge raw materials mines. The metals are well concealed in the products we use, and in the future the focus will be on how to recover them.

Nowadays, metals appear to be the salt of the earth. Certainly, modern devices simply can't do without them. Computers, smartphones and the latest flat screens only possess their very special properties thanks to a small group of particularly critical metals known as "rare earth metals". The Plansee Group has therefore specialized in processing these metals. Like salt and pepper, rare earth metals are added to molybdenum and tungsten powders and to finished high-tech metals.

Although they have long been indispensable in the high-tech industry, people are now becoming concerned about the large quantities that are needed for the technologies of the future. Around 97 percent of the deposits of rare earth metals are found in China. The race to get hold of these rare materials has started. The Plansee Group is identifying solutions for conditioning and recovering these metals.

Take a look here to watch a film about the processing and conditioning of rare earth metals in the Plansee Group.