Reclaiming rare earth elements from end-of-life products: A review of the perspectives for urban mining using hydrometallurgical unit operations
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2015

Due to their large variety of applications, their low supply and high demand, the rare earth elements (REEs) are presently viewed as being among the most critical chemical elements. Because of this, their potential recovery from end-of-life waste products has been extensively discussed both in society and in the scientific literature. This concept of recovering elements contained in end-of-life products, known as urban mining, is regarded as an important step in achieving a sustainable, circular society. This review article discusses the perspectives of reclaiming the REEs from various waste streams using hydrometallurgical methods. Three main streams are discussed in detail (phosphor-containing products, NiMH batteries and permanent magnets), touching on the state-of-the-art of material pre-treatment, leaching and separation of REEs and refining. Comparisons with the extraction of REEs from ores are drawn, bringing forth both the advantages and some of the disadvantages of urban mining.

Waste processing

Rare earth elements

Urban mining




Cristian Tunsu

Chalmers, Kemi- och bioteknik, Industriell materialåtervinning

Martina Petranikova

Kemi och kemiteknik, Energi och material, Kärnkemi

Marino Gergoric

Kemi och kemiteknik, Energi och material, Kärnkemi

Christian Ekberg

Kemi och kemiteknik, Energi och material, Kärnkemi

Teodora Retegan

Kemi och kemiteknik, Energi och material, Kärnkemi


0304-386X (ISSN)

Vol. 156 239-258 4111



Metallurgi och metalliska material