Valuable deposits – Styria takes a leading role in landfill mining 

A new use of landfill as a source of raw materials is much-discussed internationally. As a result of an initiative by the Styrian federal state, A14 Wasserwirtschaft, Ressourcen und Nachhaltigkeit [Water economy, resources and sustainability], ECO WORLD STYRIA has been asked to design a pilot project. The Montan University of Leoben is now implementing this pilot project over the next three years, using research funding from the Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie [BMVIT, Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology] through the BRIDGE funding programme of the FFG (Research Promotion Agency).

The “Landfill Mining Styria” project is to generate basic findings on the “mining” of landfill across the whole of Austria, as a basis for further research work for future landfill recycling concepts and projects, processing and sorting technologies and processes for the secondary raw materials industry.

Styria offers ideal terrain to carry out the Landfill Mining project because of its geological, waste and environmental conditions. “In older landfill sites in particular, materials can be found that can be brought back into use at times of steadily increasing resource needs. This makes landfill as a potential source of raw materials for industry very interesting,” comments Styrian Sustainability Minister Johann Seitinger.

Scientific support will be provided by the Montan University of Leoben (Department of Waste Management Technology and Waste Economics) in cooperation with the Technical University of Graz.

“In Montan University we want to see landfill not as a problem but as a storage site created by people which should be made useful for the future,” says Professor Roland Pomberger. In addition, Styria’s Green Tech Valley has innovative technology firms in this sector that can provide practical support, expertise and know-how for implementation.

Technology firms and landfill operators along the entire value creation chain from Styria and Lower Austria are taking part in this pioneering project: the planning offices IUT and TB Hammer, the installation builders ANDRITZ Energy & Environment, Binder + Co, BT-Wolfgang Binder, Komptech, Kuttin und M-U-T, the recyclers Saubermacher and NUA, the landfill operators AWV Liezen, Frohnleiten, Markt Hartmannsdorf and the Mürzverband [Styrian waste management associations], as well as further firms in the sector such as sensor specialist EVK, cement manufacturer Lafarge and the environmental laboratory UTC.

During the three-year course of the project, it is hoped to answer questions on the technological implementation, the cost-efficiency of landfill mining, the useful material content of the landfill and also the legal framework. In addition to the development of theoretical models, on-site tests will be carried out at selected landfill sites. The experience gained will result in the development of future-oriented, normative recovery strategies and standards as well as approaches to quality assurance for the recovered recycling and energy materials.

For questions contact: DI [qualified engineer] Sabine Seiler ECO WORLD STYRIA, +43 316 40 77 44-18,