Zero waste recovery of copper tailings in ESEE


Name of the project:

Zero waste recovery of copper tailings in ESEE

Acronym of the project:  RIS-CuRE

Ref. № 18248

Duration: 36 months (01.01.2019- 31.12.2021)

Programme: EIT RawMaterials


Zavod za gradbenistvo Slovenije, ZAG (Slovenian National Building and Civil Engeneering Institute) (Slovenia) – Lead partner

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vratsa (Bulgaria)

University of Petrosani (Romania)

University of Belgrade, Technical Facility Bor (Serbia)

Outotec (Ceramics) Oy (Finland)

Mining and Smelting Combine Bor (Serbia)

IRGO Consulting (Slovenia)

Gomez Pardo Foundation (Spain)

Goce DelcevUniversity Stip (Macedonia)

Geological Survey of Slovenia, GeoZS (Slovenia)

ELEM Macedonian Power Plants (Macedonia)

DPTU BUCHIM DOO, Radovish, Limited Trade Company for production, trade and service (Macedonia)

Civil Engineering Serbia (Serbia)

Chamber of Commerce Serbia (Serbia)


Although mining and processing tailings can present a substantial risk to the environment, on the other hand, they represent valuable sources of secondary and in particular critical raw materials. Serbia and FYR Macedonia have an abundance of Cu mines which have been exploited since ancient times. These activities generated about 920 M tonnes of different types of mining, floatation and metallurgical tailings, containing approximately 1.3 M tonnes of Cu, 128 tonnes of Ag and 23 tonnes of Au, which presents a valuable resource for the European raw materials market sector.

Project description

The activities of the RIS‐CuRE project are based on an innovation model merging all relevant stakeholders within the knowledge triangle in the field of industry, research, and education in order to increase regional competitiveness based on a regional scale, taking into account the latest know‐how of the RIS‐CuRE consortium. This innovative approach is based on the zero waste paradigm, which means that, once valuable raw materials such as CRM and other metals are extracted, the residues can be recycled for the construction sector. Such a holistic eco‐innovative approach to the extraction of valuable metals and the beneficial use of residues after the extraction of metals provides a guarantee for the successful development of a regional innovation scheme based on the exploitation of tailings, and is, from the economic, organizational, technological, environmental and social points of view, the most viable option. This will lead to the development of an encouraging environment for the boosting entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in the region, based on the exploration of secondary deposits. The final output of the project will be a strong sustained regional network, based on validated and fact‐based data, including a study of the potential economic, technological, organisational (legislative), environmental and social impacts of applying the innovative methodology of the zero waste extraction of valuable materials in Serbia and the FYR of Macedonia.