BMW Group invests in novel process for copper extraction

Investment in US startup Jetti Resources

Through its venture capital fund BMW i Ventures, the BMW Group has taken a stake in US (Colorado) based company, Jetti Resources. The goal is to foster responsible and resource-conserving copper extraction to address rising demand in a more sustainable way. Founded in 2014, Jetti Resources has developed a pioneering process for copper extraction that utilizes previously unused ore from existing copper mines.

‘By investing in Jetti, we are supporting technological progress in the field of copper extraction, with a focus on responsible and resource-conserving methods,’ says Wolfgang Obermaier, Head of Indirect Goods and Services, Raw Materials, Production Partners of the BMW Group. ‘This new process has the potential to improve the environmental footprint and integrity of our supply chain, even with growing demand for resources like copper’ Obermaier adds.

As copper is a vital raw material to produce electric drivetrains in EVs, demand is forecasted to grow substantially in the coming years. As early as 2030, at least half of BMW Group’s global sales will consist of fully electric vehicles.

Using existing resources

Jetti Resources has developed a unique catalytic leaching technology that enables the extraction of copper from previously unexploited ores. Around 70 percent of the world’s copper resources are bound up in those primary sulfide ores. Material, previously stored in dumps and considered waste, can now be tapped into with this new form of resource-conserving extraction.

This process enables the recovery of previously trapped copper resources, thus significantly increasing the output and lifespan of existing copper production facilities. This way, copper extraction becomes substantially more efficient and reduces its environmental impact. Jetti Resources’ method allows copper mines to use heap leaching on these ores, which causes around 40% fewer CO2 emissions compared to traditional raw material extraction and uses only approximately 50% of the water. The technology is already being deployed to great success at industrial scale. Jetti Resources plans to push ahead with global expansion together with its partners.

Responsible supply chain management

The BMW Group has made sustainability and resource efficiency central to the company’s strategic direction. A key aspect is compliance with strict environmental and social standards in every part of their supply chains. Eliminating infringements on human rights and environmental standards is a key priority in procuring essential raw materials.

The BMW Group analyses and prioritizes raw materials on an ongoing basis as part of its materials strategy. Potential risks arise primarily from extracting and processing raw materials and material groups. The BMW Group mitigates these risks with a mix of standardized, proactive, and reactive measures uniquely tailored to each raw material. To ensure the necessary transparency and traceability of raw material processing within the BMW Group’s complex and dynamic supplier network, they are participating in Catena-X, an alliance for secure and standardized data exchange in supply chains.

SOURCE: BMW Group

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