Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

I will support Hillary Clinton, will.i.am tells France 24

Read more

FOCUS

Germany: Spread of radical Islam propaganda sparks concerns

Read more

ENCORE!

Corrie Nielsen: Up and Coming Talent at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FACE-OFF

French Senate election: A new blow for Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Julie Gayet, Denzel Washington, and cartoon madness

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Turkey's strategy towards the Islamic State group

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France defends deficit reduction delay in 2015 budget

Read more

We travel across the globe and meet the people behind the most fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Every other Sunday at 8.40 pm.

DOWN TO EARTH

DOWN TO EARTH

Latest update : 2013-09-24

Sweden: Mining for urban treasure

In industrial cities, thousands of cables and pipes are left abandoned under our feet. It's a valuable source of metal that could be given a second chance. Join the team in downtown Sweden as we explore whether our cities are the mines of the future.

This week we're in Sweden, on a hunt for urban treasure. Beneath many of its downtown streets lies a bounty of abandoned metal trapped in forgotten cables and pipes.

We meet the Swedish prospectors who believe cities will be the mines of the future. Researchers from Linköping University have shown the amount of copper under the pavements is equal to that found in the country's traditional mines.

Today it's too expensive to dig up this network of underground infrastructure, which includes copper as well as iron and aluminium, but efforts are underway to change the economics of urban mining.

Austrian-based company Kabel-X has developed technology that can extract up to 400 metres of copper in one piece. As Sweden's telecommunications provider makes the switch to fibre optic cables, it could be the perfect opportunity to tap into this reservoir of metal and give it a second life.

By Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Juliette LACHARNAY , Emilie COCHAUD

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-09-21 environment

Global warming: A drowning planet

Rising sea levels are an inevitable consequence of global warming. Scientific research indicates that sea levels worldwide have been rising at a rate of 0.14 inches (3.5...

Read more

2014-06-22 water

Microplastics: The planet's tiny threat

Tiny plastic particles, barely visible, are infecting the world's sea and oceans, where they're being eaten by fish and other aquatic species before making their way up the food...

Read more

2014-06-09 technology

Biomimicry: Hacking nature

Biomimicry is the science of mimicking life. Have millions of years of evolution churned out all the answers?

Read more

2014-05-25 technology

Japan: Robots that care

This week, Down to Earth explores Japan's efforts to embrace robots to fill the gap left by a growing shortage of manpower.It's no secret that Japan is facing a demographic...

Read more

2014-05-11 Sustainable development

Japan: Fukushima fallout

It's more than three years since an earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant and authorities are still battling to contain the fallout.

Read more