Markus Reuter: Metals are perfectly suited for a sustainable Circular Economy as we work with elements thence producing either again alloy or pure refined metal. They are extremely durable and can be infinitely recycled without degrading their quality or desired properties.
However, reality is far more complex and the metal wheel shows the connections between the elements. The main message is that you need a base metal industry to make the society's wheels turn. The dark-blue ring in the center of the metal wheel reflects the close interconnected symbiosis between the base-metal sectors that enable the circular economy. This is the ball bearing of modern society. In the next ring there are the elements that dissolve in the carrier metal and can be recovered mainly through pyrometallurgical and smelting processes but also hydrometallurgical. Elements that are collected as oxides, sulphates, chlorides etc. in dust or slime are shown in the third ring. They can be recovered with mainly hydrometallurgical processes, through high-purity metals and compounds. The elements in the outer ring mainly go to lower-value building material or are the inevitable dissipative loss (e.g. expressed in terms of exergy). The metals for which the base metal of that segment can act as a carrier metal are marked with green circles and are compatible with the alloying or chemistry of the sectors. The yellow circles reflect mainly the elements that retain value e.g. as alloying elements in steel, aluminium etc. if scrap is well managed by digital systems as those in the SMS portfolio.