Metals have always been a pillar of society. Presently more so than ever, as they are key to enabling our sustainability aspirations. The complex Web of Metals (WoM) is the crucial basis for enabling a sustainable Circular Economy (CE) society. Digitalization and quantification of the WoM (or Internet-of-Metallurgical-Things (IoMT)) are keys to driving CE innovation. Examples of specialized technology and flow sheet needs are presented with consideration given to a “whole of chain” or Systems-Integrated-Metal-Production (SIMP) approach. Examples enabling SIMP include: system, metallurgical process and reactor simulation (e.g. CFD, thermodynamics, flowsheeting, LCA), big data analysis (AI, black box techniques), process control, Design for Recycling/Sustainability, etc.
Also outlined are the challenges facing legislators who need to consider the balance between providing our societal sustainability needs with key baseline technology infrastructure requirements for economically viable valuable metals extraction from resources flowing within society.
Digitalization enables the IoMT of a CE.