Mining tailings and metallurgical heaps can pose a substantial risk to environment, due to their quantity and composition, while on the other hand represents valuable sources of secondary raw materials, including critical raw materials.

The RIS-RECOVER project activities are based on a quintuple innovation helix approach merging industry, research/education, government, general public and environment sectors in order to increase regional competitiveness based on a regional background and the latest know-how of the RIS-RECOVER consortium. The innovative approach is based on the zero waste paradigm, which means that, once valuable raw materials like critical raw materials (CRM) and metals are extracted, the residues can be recycled for the construction sector. The main output will be a regional innovation scheme based on validated and fact-based data. Such validated approach will be transferred to other parts of RIS region and across Europe.

Project Title RIS-RECOVER — Regional innovation scheme for zero waste extraction of critical raw materials
Project Duration 01/2018 - 03/2021
Project Partners
  • Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG)
  • Civil Engineering Institute Macedonia (GIM)
  • Geological Survey of Slovenia (GeoZS)
  • Goce Delcev University Štip (GDU)
  • Montanuniversität Leoben (MUL)
  • Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek NV (VITO)
Project Volume €495,313


The long history of intensive copper (Cu) mining in ESEE countries with similar geological deposits has, with its rather obsolete technologies, in the past resulted in low extraction rates and the formation of large quantities of different types of tailings. Such tailings have also caused in the past extreme pollution to the groundwater, soil and air.

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 taking into account the latest know‐how and the zero waste paradigm. Such a holistic eco‐innovative approach to the extraction of valuable minerals (e.g. critical raw materials and other valuable metals) and the beneficial use of residues after the extraction of metals (e.g. in the construction industry) provides a guarantee for the successful development of a regional innovation scheme (RIS) based on the exploitation of tailings, and is, from the economic, organizational, technological, environmental and social points of view, the most viable option.

Project Title RIS-CuRE — Zero waste recovery of copper tailings in the ESEE region
Project Duration 01/2019 – 12/2021
Project Partners
  • Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (coordinator)
  • Geological Survey of Slovenia
  • IRGO Consulting
  • Gomez Pardo Foundation
  • Outotec Oy
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vratsa
  • Civil Engineering Institute Macedonia
  • DPTU Buchim doo
  • Radovish
  • Ltc
  • ELEM Macedonian Power Plants Goce Delcev University Štip
  • Ekolive s.r.o.
  • University of Belgrade
  • Technical Faculty in Bor
  • University of Petrosani
  • Project Volume €1,575,416