Last Friday, 17 November, more than 60 experts and stakeholders gathered at the Sea4Value project workshop: Critical Raw Materials from unconventional sources: Ensuring supply through Circular Economy. The aim of the event was to promote knowledge exchange and networking between stakeholders from the Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) sector, as well as from the water sector, specifically in desalination and water mining.
Hannah Arpke, Sea4Value project coordinator, opened the event, which was held both in Barcelona and online, by welcoming everyone and giving way to Sandra Casas and Naiara Hernández, who summarised the progress of the Sea4Value project so far. This was followed by a fascinating presentation by the expert Christopher Fellows, Senior Water Expert at the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) in Saudi Arabia and Adjunct Professor at the University of New England, Australia, on the Potential Value of Desalination Brine.
After a networking coffee in the same room, four European sister projects related to the valorisation of CRM from unconventional sources were presented. These were SEArcularMine, WaterMining, Life INDESAL and finally, the Metallico project, presented consecutively by Fabrizio Vicari (ResourSEAs), Guillermo Zaragoza (CIEMAT), Luca Sbardella (ACCIONA) i José Luís Cortina (Barcelona Tech UPC).
Towards the end of the event, two round tables were held. The first, chaired by Nicholas Nelson from Omya, dealt with the recovery of metals and minerals as an economic lever for desalination plants and was attended by various experts: Naiara Hernández from Aqualia, Guillem Gilabert-Oriol from Dupont, Christopher Fellows from SWCC and Christos Charisiadis from NEOM portfolio. After a very interesting discussion, it was followed by a second and final round table, this time moderated by Frederic Clarens from Eurecat, who initiated and led the discussion on “CRM market: barriers and opportunities”, together with José Luís Cortina from Barcelona Tech UPC, Fidel Grandia from Amphos 21 and Philip Barthelmess from Omya.
The workshop ended with a closing speech by Aina Amengual from the Catalan Water Partnership, the main organiser of the event, and a final networking session and lunch at the same venue.