Umicore Partners with STL for Germanium Recycling in DRC

Umicore Partners with STL for Germanium Recycling in DRC

Umicore has entered into a long-term partnership with STL, a subsidiary of Gécamines, to refine and recycle germanium from mining waste at the Big Hill tailings site in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This collaboration focuses on enhancing the value extracted from the region’s mining residues by introducing advanced hydro-metallurgical processes developed by Umicore.

STL has been exploiting the Big Hill site, which hosts approximately 10 million tons of metal-laden slag, to recover valuable metals such as zinc, silver, cobalt, copper, and germanium. With the establishment of its new processing facility in 2023, STL aims to increase local processing of these materials, particularly germanium, which has significant applications in high-tech industries.

Under the agreement, Umicore will provide its expertise to optimize STL’s operations and ensure efficient germanium production. The first batches of germanium concentrate are scheduled to be refined by Umicore in the last quarter of 2024, marking a significant step towards increasing STL’s germanium output.

This partnership not only secures a sustainable source of germanium for Umicore’s Electro-Optic Materials Business Unit, which supports industries such as fiber optics and solar cells, but also promotes local development and skill enhancement in the DRC. icon

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