Critical raw materials (CRMs) are fundamental to the EU industrial value chains and strategic sectors, particularly with regard to the green energy transition. Currently, the EU domestic supply of primary CRMs is below 3% for many important commodities. To obtain an improved understanding of the EU’s critical raw materials potential, discover new ore deposits and thereby increase the internal sourcing of CRMs and secure its raw materials autonomy, the EU aims to boost the exploration and production of CRMs. Orthomagmatic mineral systems host important green transition (critical) raw materials (GTRM) including Ni, Cu, Co, V, Ti, Cr and platinum-group elements (PGE). There are currently only 2 mines in operation producing these metals in the EU, though there is
potential for additional mines in several EU countries. This project is designed to develop socially and environmentally sustainable means of exploration for orthomagmatic CRMs. We will apply, for the first time in the EU, the Mineral Systems Approach to guide exploration for orthomagmatic CRMs. We will thereby generate improved ore models for orthomagmatic mineral deposits which will be translated to mappable exploration criteria to delineate areas of high exploration potential, from regional scale to local scale. Through collaboration between geosciences and social sciences the project will also develop methods to promote social awareness of the importance of responsible exploration and mining. Further, we will map the exploration and production potential of CRM in the EU and key CRM supplier countries. Our research will be conducted at five reference sites in Finland, Portugal, Poland and the Czech Republic representing different geological, social and environmental conditions. The ultimate goal is to promote responsible sourcing of CRMs in the EU and diversify the supply from third countries, thereby securing the continued supply of CRMs for EU industries.
Coordinator: University of Oulu, Finland; 17 partners in total
TU Wien team: N.N. (PreDoc), Peter Filzmoser
Program / Call: HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01
Proposal: 101057741 - SEMACRET
Funding: European Commission
Start: 01 May 2022, duration: 36 months