Winter School (11-22 December 2017)
From 11 to 22 December, the students went to TU Bergakademie Freiberg for the Winter School, where they focused on problems and innovations in the process chain of rare materials. The students were taken through the entire process chain of critical raw materials, from resource exploration to recycling, and introduced to their different technological aspects. The Winter School started with an excursion to the underground research and testing unit of the ‘Reiche Zeche’ mine. This gave the students insights into the potential TU Bergakademie Freiberg has to offer for in-situ research and technology development in its experimental mine. On 12 December the students went to the IAM institute, where they did some practical work with mineral processing machines. After a lecture, Prof. Lieberwirth guided the students through the laboratories. In the afternoon they had the opportunity to become acquainted with the operation of different machines. The students also visited the in-situ bioleaching unit in the mineshaft and conducted some practical tests. The second excursion on the programme was a visit to Muldenhütten Recycling und Umwelttechnik GmbH, one of the largest lead smelters in Germany. Next on the programme were lectures on electrochemistry and speciation analysis, a workshop on geochemical modelling, a lecture on gold leaching in Mongolia and several lectures on lithium, rare earth metals and germanium. A third excursion took the students to Befesa Zinc Freiberg, a service provider specialising in the recycling of steel dust, salt slags and aluminium residues, and providing related logistics and industrial services. Finally, lectures were given on process engineering, electronics & sensor materials, fundamentals of a business model and non-ferrous metallurgy (including practical work).