Urban Mining

Key activities

  • Selective separation of valuable or harmful substances from

- mineral to glassy materials

- industry-slurry

with innovative

- grinding and separation technologies

- recycling processes


  • advanced physical and chemical material characterization
  • process-related analysis like Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC) or sustainability considerations



Former projects



Recycling of steel slag



Research project for the recovery of valuable metals from dusts of steel production



Recovery of rare earth metals from mineral production residues

Technologies for the recycling of mineral by-products and composite materials

© Fraunhofer Project Group IWKS

Globally, several million tonnes of dusts, ash, slag and sludge are produced in industries such as the steel, iron and aluminum industries, but also due to municipal waste incineration. Actually, most of these inorganic substances end up on the landfill. Hence considerable contents of valuable substances that should be kept in the resource cycle get lost.

In the age of energy and resource efficiency as well as the preservation of our environment, an efficient and above all economically maintainable recycling using "green" technologies is becoming increasingly important. These are designed to enable the reduction of pollution, the saving of energy, and an environmentally friendly production.

In close cooperation with industrial partners, we are developing novel recycling concepts as well as future-oriented processes for the intelligent grinding and selective separation of valuable substances and pollutants. In addition, we investigate the further development of already existing concepts. The competence portfolio of mechanical, physical, chemical and biological methods and processes ranges from the laboratory to the technical scale. In this way a specific development with respect to the final use becomes possible by the combination of different methods.


The following materials systems are focused:

  • Combustion ash and dusts
  • Metallurgical slag
  • Mineral systems
  • Glassy materials
  • Composite materials
  • Red mud, sewage-, grinding-, electroplating-, drilling and other industrial sludge  



We are your contact for developments of the effective and sustainable use of resources from residues.

Active networks of the department




Improvement of the value-added chain aluminum production




recover existing and future waste from existing and future landfills




Competence Center for innovative landfill technology