EcoValue: working to give new life to Zinc

Thanks to the development of a Hydro-Metallurgical technology, the company managed to process the powders captured in the steel bag filters, which allowed them to recover the zinc and also that the waste generated in this process be chemically stabilized turning them into non-hazardous waste, thus contributing to generate circular economy.

Steelworks located in the Metropolitan region generate 8,000 tons per year of powders captured in bag filters, a waste that is currently labeled as dangerous, but thanks to a new technology created by the EcoValue company, could recover the Zinc contained in these powders and supply this product to 30% of the local market.

This is the development of a Hydro-Metallurgical technology, which allows the powder collected in the bag filters to be processed, thus achieving a double benefit, on the one hand obtaining Zinc in cathodes and on the other, that the waste generated in the process of obtaining is chemically stabilized to convert it into non-hazardous waste.

They are currently in the process of obtaining patents for both processes, explains Pedro Adell, founding partner of Eco Value, who in this interview tells us more details about the project.

Why is this project a good solution?

In Chile about 10,000 Tons per year of Zinc are consumed in different production processes, mainly in the galvanizing of steel used in metal components. The development of our technology and its implementation at the Industrial level will allow us to supply 30% of this market with local production and avoid the disposal as a hazardous waste of 8,000 Ton / year. The developed technology takes advantage of existing unit processes that, arranged as EcoValue has proposed, generate a simple and innovative solution.

What is the target audience you intend to conquer?

The processing technology of these powders has a fundamental challenge, on the one hand that the mills that generate this waste commit themselves to deliver all of these to the future Recycling company, and on the other hand that the Zinc production costs allow to compete with the imported product and supply to the local market. Fortunately, the reception of this solution by both the Steelworks and the consumers of Zinc has been very favorable.

What phase of the project are you in?

We are currently in a roadshow to raise capital to develop the recycling plant project, with the support of CORFO we managed to develop the technology pilot and obtained highly satisfactory results, which allowed us to build the economic of the project and verify that the business is feasible both technically and economically.

What are your growth expectations?

Considering the consumption of Steel in the main countries of the region, and the productive capacity of the current steel mills installed, it is possible to think about replicating the model in these places, countries like Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil are excellent candidates to implement this technology.

Do you think that mining needs projects / suppliers of this type to retain its leadership?

While it is true this project does not aim directly at mining, without a doubt replicating this model is essential for Copper Mining to retain its leadership worldwide. In this perspective, fluid and constructive contact between the University, Research Center and the Mining Industry at different levels is essential, work that EcoValue has developed as an articulating entity for development initiatives. On the other hand, the role of CORFO as economic support and guidance is indispensable.

How was the experience of innovating in Chile?

In a single word: difficult, for a small company with scarce resources it is exhausting, however this work has great satisfactions and the support of other entrepreneurs, CORFO and senior specialists who often work almost ad honorem, is comforting. We take advantage of this space to invite investors to believe in local innovation and talent; We are a mining country and we have great professionals, let’s look for formulas to generate solutions that allow us to continue leading the Copper Mining Industry.