In 2010, KIEM and Colorado School of Mines partnered with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University, K.U. Leuven, and industry to form the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling.
The goal of CR3, an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC), is to advance recovery and recycling science, engineering, and education. Working with industry partners, the center is developing technologies to identify and separate valuable materials from waste streams and to enable greater use of process effluents in materials processes.
The I/UCRC is dedicated to the sustainable stewardship of resources. The founders anticipate a future in which materials sustainability is valued and becomes a critical consideration in the design and manufacture of materials and products. In the future, the efficiency of recovering materials from the waste stream will increase, and recycled scrap will be the preferred source of materials for materials processes, yielding both energy and cost savings.
The Critical Materials Institute (CMI) at Mines was established in 2013, in partnership with the Department of Energy and Ames Laboratory. KIEM focuses especially on process engineering to improve primary mineral processing and recovery, as well as secondary recovery through recycling of manufacturing wastes and end-of-life products, and material characterization.