Map shows retrievable metals in buildings

On the new website of PUMA (Prospecting Urban Mines of Amsterdam) you’ll find the first prospecting map of Amsterdam (the Netherlands) as a mining area for steel and copper. Houses contain as much steel and copper to be able to see them as source of materials on the long-term. In a circular economy you do not only want to know which streams enter and leave the city, but also how much is saved and stored.

The PUMA project has examined to what extent it is possible, based on existing open data to make a rough estimate of the amounts of steel and copper in homes and apartments. By making a map that creates an impression of differences in densities it can be looked at with samples to see how far the estimate differs from the reality. This process is similar to geological prospecting, where mining companies determine how much they have for concession rights, based on estimates and samples.

In a number of Amsterdam dwellings, samples were collected by Metabolic. The results of this research are published in the report 'Prospecting the urban mines of Amsterdam' (pdf). The researchers come to the conclusion (p. 18) that most of estimates are valid, although the data was still unrefined. They make recommendations to further improve the model.

The map has been developed together with the developers of Waag. PUMA is a collaboration of Faculty of Architecture TU Delft, Leiden Centre for Environmental Sciences, Metabolic and Waag and is partly funded by AMS.