The Eramet Open Innovation challenges organized by Eramet Ideas and EIT RawMaterials invite start-ups and SMEs from all over the world to propose innovative solutions to help face the challenges of the mining industry. It’s a way to source companies that support Eramet’s role within a sustainable mining and metallurgical industry. The theme for the 2021 edition was “Responsible Mining”, which includes five key issues: environmentally-friendly exploration, mine rehabilitation and biodiversity, water and waste management, traceability of raw materials, and safety on mining sites.
This year’s winner, Bind-X, is a fast-growing technology company based in Germany and South Africa. “As our name suggests, our core expertise lies within the binding of materials in a very sustainable, efficient and versatile manner based on our biological technology platform Bind-Tech®, this being applied in the global mining industry through a novel approach on controlling dust, stabilizing soils and pelletizing raw materials,” explain Martin Spitznagel, CEO, and Jacobus van Dyk, Head of Mining at Bind-X.
“All the solutions presented by the 3 finalist are of interest to the Eramet group, making innovation a major contributor to responsible mining,” adds Christel Bories, CEO and Chair of the Eramet group.
Saving millions of liters of water and much more
Bind-X’s targets is to increase the operational efficiency of mines within the Eramet network through a more efficient and more sustainable dust management, with a first focus on Comilog: “Dust is a serious issue in mining and the importance of mitigating it in an efficient and ecological way will continue to increase over the next years. That is something that Eramet has fully understood, and our solution improves both, the environmental footprint and the operational efficiency. Our solution can, for instance, allow Comilog to save more than 15 million liters of water per year just on a five-kilometer haul road,” explains Martin Spitznagel. Applications range from dust control to tailings management, slope stabilization and pelletizing. The prize, €50,000, will be used for a large-scale demonstration at Comilog’s mine in Gabon during the second quarter of this year, in order to proof all advantages on the ground.
On the left: a road before the treatment. On the right: the same road after the treatment with Bind-X’s product.
“I guess we truly face a perfect fit between problem and solution here and the award will help us to further grow our company and to maximise our impact within the mining industry,” concludes Martin Spitznagel. “Taking part in this challenge encourages us to define the next generation and best practice for dust control in the world.”