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We meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 7.20 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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

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Archives

2018-04-17 agriculture

Can France bid 'adieu' to popular weedkiller glyphosate?

France is Europe's top agricultural producer and also its top consumer of glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in history. Each year, nearly 8,000 tons of it are used in...

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2018-04-03 climate change

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2018-03-20 Germany

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In Germany, one of Europe’s largest coal mines is gaining ground, destroying dozens of villages in its path. Some 35,000 people have already been relocated and 24 new villages...

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2018-03-08 Recycling

Plastic: Does France have a recycling problem?

When it comes to sorting and recycling plastic waste, France has some catching up to do. Less than 25% of plastic packaging is recycled, while the rest is incinerated or put in...

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2018-02-16 aviation

Is the aviation industry free-riding on climate change efforts?

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