The mining and metallurgical industry is subject to technical requirements that are becoming more and more specialized. An indispensable driving force for ERAMET’s sustainable and diversified growth strategy, the research and development department benefits from a cross-disciplinary organizational structure within the Group. Its goal: to identify needs and issues in order to apply suitable innovations. In order to achieve this, the research center of ERAMET Research collaborates with the R & D teams of each division and the operational staff.
R & D: a Structure to Boost Performance
Nearly 350 individuals are dedicated to research and development at ERAMET. They are present in each of the divisions and within ERAMET Research, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Group, which employs 180 people.
For the mining, metallurgical and chemicals activities of ERAMET, the effectiveness of research is a determining advantage, which aims to:
- meet the requirements and anticipate the needs of its industrial clients;
- improve its competitiveness and strengthen its position in the most competitive markets;
- offer new services;
- fully participate in the development of the Group’s business.
The innovation programs are carried out jointly by the divisions and ERAMET Research. The engineers and technicians of the research center form a team with the employees in charge of development within the unit concerned by the project. They are in direct contact with the operational staff, who inform them of the needs of their clients.
ERAMET Research: a Center Structured by Field of Expertise
ERAMET Research is divided into process-oriented departments and cross-disciplinary departments. These areas of expertise demonstrate the unremitting desire of the Group to maintain and develop its expertise in mineralogy, extractive metallurgy and the development and transformation of alloys.
There currently exist four process-oriented departments:
- Pyrometallurgy, which manages the thermal processes related to the mining of manganese and nickel.
- Hydrometallurgy/Mineralogy, which develops liquid-state treatment processes.
- Products, which develops refining processes for nickel, manganese and lithium products.
- Hydrometallurgy II, a department created in 2010 specifically to develop the hydrometallurgical process for the Maboumine (Gabon) project.
These four departments are supported by two cross-disciplinary departments:
- Pilot, a unit dedicated to the design, creation and implementation of tools allowing the simulation of a continuous process on a reduced scale.
- Mineralogy, analysis and modeling, a unit specialized in questions pertaining to physical observation, chemical analyses and mathematical and physical modeling, thanks to state-of-the-art technical resources (microscopy, computing capabilities, analysis tools, image analysis and automation, etc.).
The recent increase in ERAMET Research's activity
In 2011, the activity of ERAMET Research reached 18 million Euros, up 11% on 2010 and more than double the 2006 volume.
One of the forces of ERAMET Research’s R&D lies in the close integration of its areas of expertise, which cover the entire metallurgical value chain.