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Mineral and Waste Processing

Mineral and waste processing, recycling technologies and structrures, as well as the remediation of contaminated soils and the treatment of industrial wastewater are the main topics of our research and teaching activities. 

The processing activities are traditionally associated with the treatment of natural resources extracted by mining. The processing methods for generating concentrates and products from ores, coal, salt (halite, fertiliser salts) and industrial minerals (limestone, gypsum, china-clay, marble, etc.) form the basis of the whole production chain. The whole issue of the supply of natural resources has gained considerably in importance again in recent years because of the development of the large Asian economies in particular. New deposits must be developed worldwide, and the extracted raw materials must be processed.

Mineral processing has been part of the research and teaching activities in Clausthal for long times, first in the old Mining Academy, now at the Clausthal University of Technology. In 1927 a special department for mineral processing has been established. Research and teaching has gained an excellent international reputation in close co-operation with the other institutes.

The  negative  consequence of increasing industrialisation is the generation of waste. Concerns about this waste have led to the growing interest of the general public in environmental protection since the 1970s. The technological developments in the processing of primary natural resources initially provided the platform for the industrial utilisation of waste. Production residues from natural resource extraction (waste tips, mine ponds), the smelting industry (fly ash, ash, slag, foundry sand) and the production of complex products such as those involved in the automotive industry (production scrap, phosphating sludge, etc.) have also been one of the main priorities of our research and teaching activities since this time.  

The changes brought about by the reorientation from waste economies to recycling economies, and recently, from recycling economies to resource economies, gave rise to other central research and teaching activities involving the elaboration of recycling strategies and the development of recovery technologies for discarded products and installations. Scrap cars, electronic scrap, batteries, construction residues, domestic refuse and other material flows all represent enormous resource potential for the future. The waste recovery research in Germany has a very strong reputation world-wide and is seen to be leading the way. The application and further development of processing technologies for resource-relevant complex wastes is therefore one of the priorities of the research activities conducted in our department.

Other topics covered by our department contribute to strategically important tasks such as environmental protection, safeguarding supplies of natural resources, including measures to ensure the efficient treatment of residual waste and wastewater and the remediation of contaminated soils.

The rising interest and importance of environmental protection technologies finally led to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Technology course in 1995. Since the winterterms 2010/2011 the masterdegree for "Environmental-Processengeneering and Recycling" exists due to the bologna-process. Students are taught in a practise-oriented way, and the subject matter reflects social and industrial needs. The foundations for the practise-oriented development work are formed by the very well equipped workshops, laboratories and test facilities operated by the department, some of which can be scaled up to pilot plant level. Graduates mainly prepare their degree dissertations in co-operation with industry, and boast excellent career opportunities thanks to their broad-based education.



Institute of Mineral and Waste Processing, Waste Disposal and Geomechanics

Department of Mineral and Waste Processing

Walther-Nernst-Str. 9

38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld

Prof. Dr.-Ing. D. Goldmann

Prof. Dr.-Ing. T. Elwert

+49 5323-72-2038

+49 5323-72-353

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