Mandate for investigation into the sustainable extraction and recycling of metals and minerals from secondary resources

Last updated: 8 December 2023

In 2021, the government mandated the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU) to work with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvatdsverket) to investigate and increase the possibilities of viable extraction of minerals and metals from secondary resources. 
The mandate stipulated the following tasks:

  • The investigation, assessment and characterisation of existing mine waste with secondary resource potential and the publication of the resulting data for research and business development. 
  • The proposal of a classification system in line with the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) and the development of a database in accordance with it. 
  • The analysis of remaining practical obstacles and legislative barriers to the utilisation of mining waste as a resource. 
  • A mineral flow assessment and analysis of how systems for life cycle analysis and spatial analysis can be designed to contribute to a circular economy.
  • A proposal of measures to increase the knowledge base on secondary resource potential and contributions to the circular economy and to achieve environmental and climate objectives. 

Upon completion of the assignment in 2023, the SGU and Naturvatdsverket proposed the following assignments to continue to develop this work:

  • A concept test of a life-cycle-based mapping system for critical metals and minerals in order to eventually create a more secure data base.
  • Proposals for solutions to the identified practical and financial obstacles to extraction from mining waste.
  • Development of knowledge of the bedrock in connection with landfills of mining waste and of geophysical methods for investigating warp piles.

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