About 700 experts from 23 countries met in Freiberg/Saxony from 9.-11.06.2010 on the occasion of the Freiberg research forum, the 61st Mining and Metallurgy Day, (Fig. 1). The focus was on the topics of the future – waste, soil and raw materials. About 200 of the participants came from abroad, among others, from Canada, the USA, Mexico, Bolivia, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Russia, and Austria. In his plenary lecture “Contributions of the university to the development of mobility”, the acting president, Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kawalla (Fig. 2), emphasized that the event was based on the four profiles of the technical university – geology, material, energy and environment. In particular as regards mobility, today specialists from all scientific fields have to cooperate to be successful in the sense of resource conservation and profitability. He recalled that the first chairman of the Freiberg inspectorate of mines, Carl von Carlowitz (1645-1714), was the first person to formulate the principle of sustainability, which today, more than ever, must be the basic idea of any research activity in the field of raw material and securing of energy supplies at the Freiberg resource university. Nevertheless, the per capita consumption of raw materials in Germany amounts to 18 t/a compared to only 3 t/a worldwide. A car, for example, requires about 5000 kg of raw materials, of these, alone 2250 kg of iron ore and 1180 kg of copper ore. The objective of the conference was to show ways to close the emerging raw material gaps, in particular in the German economy. In the second plenary lecture (by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Horst E. Friedrich, head of the Stuttgart-based Institute of Vehicle Concepts within the German Aerospace Center (DLR): “Vehicles of the future and demands on the materials”) the most important tasks were explained, i.e. the development of new mobility concepts, new drive technologies and new safety requirements.
The 4th International Conference on “Magnetism and Metallurgy” with the selected topics manufacture, characterization and use of electric steels as well as of hard-magnetic and soft-magnetic materials was integrated into this year’s research forum as the main conference. The following specialist colloquia (FK) were held in parallel:
FK 1: Materials design - new materials for machine building and tool manufacturing
FK 2: Fuels and energy
FK 3: Lithium for lithium ion batteries – resources and extraction
FK 4: Mine water – challenges and solutions
FK 5: Recultivation in mining
FK 6: Challenges in deep drilling and the extraction of fluid raw materials
The main lecture “Availability of the raw material lithium” in the specialist colloqium 3, given by Dr. Steffen Haber from the Lithium Divison of Chemetall GmbH – in Frankfurt should behighlighted. He demonstrated the development of lithium production, in particular in the car industry, based on figures of the worldwide reserves (28 million t of Li corresponding to 150 million t of Li2CO3, of this, 14 million t of Li are available and can be mined) and the demand ( at present 23 million t of Li or 122 million t of Li2CO3, respectively). It is expected that 5 to 7 million ecological cars will be manufactured in 2020. In addition to the different mineral and geographical sources as well as the processing methods used by Chemetall, statements were made on the importance of the future recycling of Li batteries, which will be an essential raw material source of the future. Recycling rates of more than 50 % should be achievable without any difficulty since the lithium in the batteries is unused.
The Agricola colloquium, which traditionally takes place within the framework of the Mining and Metallurgy Day, dealt with the topic “From Freiberg to Bologna – concerning the history of study conditions and educational reforms”. Finally, the supporting program also included the 5th Frei-berg – St Petersburg Colloquium for young scientists. Many of them took the opportunity to present their lectures on geology – mineralogy – geoecology as well as mining – processing. The 62nd Mining and Metallurgy Day in 2011 will focus on the topic “energy”, which this year played a minor role, as Prof. Kawalla emphasized in his summary and outlook during the reception on the occasion of the Freiberg research forum.