The first edition of "Raw Materials Week", organised by the European Commission, kicks off in Brussels on 28 November 2016. A wide range of stakeholders will be present to debate and discuss raw materials policy and initiatives. Here are some projects, funded by Horizon 2020, which are addressing the new challenges regarding raw materials in the EU and giving input to policy making.
Minatura 2020 - Developing a concept for a European minerals deposit framework
The exploitation of minerals in Europe is an indispensable activity to ensure that the present and future needs of the European society can be fulfilled. Thus, this €2.1 million project is developing a concept and methodology to help the European countries identify and protect their mineral deposits that are considered of public importance.
MINATURA 2020 and its 24 international partners seek to give the minerals industry room to explore and develop but always respecting local environments, before, during and after the extraction of minerals.
Follow them on Twitter @minatura2020
Blue Nodules - Harvesting metallic rocks from the sea floor
Blue Nodules is developing a deep sea mining system for the harvesting of Polymetallic nodules from the sea floor with minimum environmental impact.
But what are these nodules? They are rocks that contain metals such as manganese which is essential to steel production, and they can be found in the deep ocean between 4,000 and 6,000 meters.
The project involves 14 leading industries and research partners from 9 countries in Europe with a budget of 8M€.
UNEXMIN - Underwater explorer for flooded mines
UNEXMIN's final goal is to open new exploration scenarios so that strategic decisions on the re-opening of Europe’s abandoned mines can be supported by actualised data that cannot be presently obtained by any other known ways.
And how does UNEXMIN intend to do this? By developing the Robotic Explorer (UX-1).
With the EU contribution of €4.7 million and the help of 13 participants from 7 EU countries, a novel robotic system for the autonomous exploration and mapping of Europe’s flooded mines will be developed. This robot will use non-invasive methods for autonomous 3D mine mapping for gathering valuable geological and mineralogical information.
Follow them on Twitter @UNEXMIN
CloseWEEE - Recovering high-tech materials
CloseWEEE is developing an improved and resource-efficient method for recycling polymer materials and critical raw materials contained in electrical and electronic equipment.
This Horizon 2020 project intends to close the loop of post-consumer high-grade plastics while recovering critical raw materials including antimony and graphite. The ultimate goal is to help decrease the volume of electronics waste.
Follow them on Twitter @CloseWEEE
ProSUM - Prospecting critical raw materials from e-waste
ProSUM aims to provide an inventory of secondary raw materials arising, for example, in waste batteries and mining wastes. So far, the ProSUM Consortium has developed a new classification system to define, harmonise and classify data for all relevant products, waste streams and their composition.
Thus, the project is establishing a European network of expertise on these critical raw materials, which are vital to today’s high-tech society.
Follow them on Twitter @ProSUMProject