1st International Circular Hydrometallurgy Symposium - ICHS 2024


As a research intensive university, KU Leuven aims for excellence in research both on the fundamental and applied level, with a strong inter- and multidisciplinary approach.  Through critical reflection, collaboration and passion, the researchers at KU Leuven are on a daily basis engaged towards our society to bring new insights and innovative ideas.

The 8th International Slag Valorisation Symposium is organized by the KU Leuven Institute SIM², of which the lead is taken by the department of Materials Engineering.

KU Leuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals

KU Leuven stimulates through different Institutes extensive and interdisciplinary research for topics that remain relevant for the society on the long term. SIM², the KU Leuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals, is one of these Institutes. SIM²’s mission is to develop, organize and implement problem-driven, science-deep research and future-oriented education, contributing to the environmentally friendly production and recycling of metals, minerals and engineered materials, supporting the transition to a climate-friendly, circular-economy.

The SIM² consortium consists of 17 research groups, covering a wide variety of disciplines from chemistry and chemical engineering to materials, mechanical and civil engineering and from microbial and molecular systems and earth and environmental sciences to law, economy and management. These groups collaborate and interact in 6 Research Lines.

Check out the website for more information about SIM².

SIM² KU Leuven’s representation of the Circular Economy with respect to metals and minerals, taking into account the 2nd law of thermodynamics (McGuiness & Jones, April 2020)


SOLVOMET is KU Leuven’s Research and Innovation Centre for Circular Hydrometallurgy. We support mining, metallurgical and recycling companies in the development of more sustainable (circular, low-energy input) hydrometallurgical processes, using state-of-the-art lab and mini-pilot scale experimental facilities and modelling capabilities.

SOLVOMET’s vision is that metallurgical chemistry expertise allows to develop more efficient eco-friendly hydrometallurgical and solvometallurgical processes to provide the critical metals that are needed for the transition to a climate-neutral society.

SOLVOMET’s mission is to support its industry partners in the conceptual and practical development of more sustainable (circular, low-energy input) hydrometallurgical (and solvometallurgical) processes, which are subsequently tested using state-of-the-art lab-scale and mini-pilot-scale experimental facilities.

Check out the website for more information about SOLVOMET.

K. Binnemans and P.T. Jones, The Twelve Principles of Circular Hydrometallurgy, Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy 9(1) (2023) 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40831-022-00636-3


Towards a new Nickel – Cobalt – Manganese processing and refining paradigm in Europe

To tackle the twin problems of (1) Europe’s dependence on a few third countries for refined Ni, Co and Mn salts, and (2) these metals are currently mined, processed at a massive environmental, health & safety cost in DRC, Indonesia, and China, CICERO will develop a sustainable and cost-effective processing and refining model for Ni, Co and Mn, and their downstream conversion into “made-in-Europe” NMC materials for Li-ion batteries. CICERO’s unique and innovative approach is that it integrates the Twelve Principles of Circular Hydrometallurgy with the smart use of methanesulphonic acid (MSA).

Check out the website for more information about HORIZON EUROPE CICERO.

Supporting projects

Horizon Europe LITHOS

Cost-effective processing and refining of lithium into lithium hydroxide from strategic European multi-mineral lithium hard-rock projects

Horizon Europe ENICON

Sustainable processing of Europe’s low grade sulphidic and lateritic Ni/Co ores and tailings into battery grade metals

Horizon Europe EXCEED

Cost-effective, sustainable and responsible extraction routes for recovering distinct critical metals and industrial minerals as by-products from key European hard-rock lithium projects

Organizing committee

Koen Binnemans

Peter Tom Jones

Rabab Nasser

Ionuț-Alexandru Popa

Elisabeth De Decker

ICHS 2024 is supported by