FORAM final and review meeting, Brussels

On the 29th of October, LPRC was present at the last meeting of the FORAM project, that officialy ended two days later, on the 31st. This meeting coincided with the review meeting by the EC and both were held together. FORAM fostered international cooperation on raw materials while gathering support from stakeholders from all over the world.

The one-day event consisted in the presentation of the 6 Work Packages’ line of work, results and future. Among others, major focus was put on the roadmap work package, the one that will dictate further exploitation of the projects results, conducting in the establishment of a World Forum on Raw Materials in a near future. All project partners strongly support and offered their help for further exploitation of the results, in line with what have been delined by the FORAM roadmap.

The project review went very well, with Jonas Hedberg, FORAM’s project officer, stating that the project has achieved what it proposed in the beginning in a timely fashion. The PO is now eager to see the exploitation of the results in the short to long-term, and which would see FORAM turning into a sustainable EC-funded project. Again, the creation of a World Forum on Raw Materials would strongly show this.

All good things come to an end, and so did the FORAM project. However, this is the perfect opportunity for a new beginning, instead of a goodbye!

¡VAMOS! Open Day and Advisory Board meeting, Nenagh, Ireland

The ¡VAMOS! project is now having its second field trials where the mining technology developed by a team of European researchers and companies is being tested and constantly improved. In Ireland, the ¡VAMOS! project found the perfect place to test its equipment in an open-pit flooded mine, resulting from an abandoned mine site. Together with the Open Day, where the team showed the technology in action to a number of stakeholders, technical and advisory board meetings also happened during the 24 and 25 of October.

On the 23rd of October, the ¡VAMOS! team held a technical meeting reserved to the partners that are involved in developing the many specialised bits that compose the ¡VAMOS! technology: the mining vehicle and the Launch and Recovery Vessel are just a few examples. During this meeting partners discussed the current state of their specific components and of the technology as a whole. Discussions led into a planned line of work that will translate into further improvement of the technology even during the field trials period in Ireland – that should extend for a few more weeks.

Then on the 24th, coupled with presentations on the project, local geology and mining history of Nenagh and Ireland, the ¡VAMOS! team held an Open Day during which around 80 visitors had the chance to see the innovative mining technology in action. Visitors were divided into groups and introduced to see different parts of the technology at a time. This allowed the visitors to have a better look and understanding of the technology. The visitors gave input to the project, both on engagement and exploitation that will surely be helpful to the project.

The last day of this period, the 25th, included both an Advisory Board meeting in the morning and an Exploitation Workshop in the afternoon. During the Advisory Board meeting, the ¡VAMOS! line of work was presented to environmental and mining experts with the aim to get their opinions and advice on the development of the technology, what should still be done and how. Fruitful input from the experts was given and it will surely benefit the project development as a whole.

To this, the Exploitation workshop followed. During this, the ¡VAMOS! partners had an intensive discussion on the future of the project and how to capitalise on the project’s innovative mining technology. How, when, what and who, were some of the questions around the future that were posed and answered by the consortium.

All in all, these few days were very benefitial, not only for the project partners that had interesting discussions as well as received input from expert stakeholders, but also to the visitors – geologists, researchers, locals – that had a unique chance to see the ¡VAMOS! technology in action. Their support to the team is a good tonic for the future that is to come!

MacaroNight – Researchers Night of the Macaronesia

On the 28th of September 2018 the Macaronesia, represented by the islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Madeira and São Miguel, experienced a tsunami of researchers taking the streets and showing the islands that they, too, have a scientific identity, that their place of birth is full of richness to be discovered and that science has played a fundamental role in their history, from conquest times to today.

Leading this invasion of science is La Palma Research Centre as coordinator, with a consortium including Universidad de La Laguna, Fundo Regional para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Fundación Canaria del Parque Científico Técnico de Las Palmas, Universidade da Madeira and Instituto Astrofísico de Canarias. For 2019 the Universidade do Mindelo, from Cape Verde, will join for an even bigger event.

MacaroNight is a Marie Curie Researcher’s Night two-year project, aiming to dispel stereotypes about researchers and raise awareness to the importance of science in the Macaronesia. A final objective is to encourage the next generation of Macaronesian researchers to take up a career in STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Also, the project has been awarded the European Year of Cultural Heritage stamp, thanks to its numerous activities highlighting the Macaronesian common heritage.

In order to reach the goals of the project the consortium puts together a series of events including demonstrations, hands-on experiments, tours and other interactive activities designed with and for the public to submerge the attendants in the world of research.

Don’t forget to come and see us on the 27th of September 2019!

Info Day Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5

LPRC was present at the most recent Horizon 2020 information day, where the opportunities and challenges for the future of Societal Challenge 5 (Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials) and its 2019 funding calls were discussed.

The event had place in the Charlemagne building of the European Commission during the 11th and 12th of September, in Brussels. It counted with the presence of a wide range of stakeholders from the research, education, business and industry spectrums that wanted to learn more about the future of the Horizon 2020 programme and new opportunities, to network and together help EU’s future regarding environment, climate and resource sufficiency through meaningful partnerships.

LPRC members participated in sessions related to raw materials, proposal preparation and evaluation and on how to make economic impact out of innovation actions. Thanks to these, LPRC’s background on Horizon 2020 projects’ preparation, development and exploitation has been improved. Networking periords allowed the team to discuss relevant topics with an international audience.

LPRC is open and actively searching for cooperation opportunities in Europe and beyond to help to shape the future for better with its range of capabilities.

All presentations and recorded sessions from the information day are available from the EASME website.

CHPM2030 Consortium and Advisory Board meeting, Iceland

Iceland is a result of 16 million years* of geological work, undertaken by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (divergent oceanic plate boundary) and a mantle plume (active hotspot). The two forces induce continuous basaltic volcanism, while building the mass of the island. The area is still very active with volcanic eruptions, excellent geothermal fields and breathtaking views. Iceland is a true geological paradise. The LPRC staff had the chance to visit some of the Icelandic scenery gems, including Kerid crater lake, Dyrhólaey arch, Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, and the Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and Gullfoss waterfalls (see gallery below), before the meeting started.

The first two days of the Consortium meeting were dedicated to the follow-up of the project work at WP and subtask level. The subtask leaders presented their progress since the Lanzarote Consortium meeting  until this point in time, and therefore the partners could discuss uncertain matters. Slightly more time was dedicated to WP6 Roadmapping and Preparation for Pilots (led by LPRC) and then to WP4 System Integration (led by ISOR). Both WPs have recently started and required leading input from the consortium partners. The WP4 presentation was followed by the session on Harmonization of technological elements, which is the most critical issue at the moment in the project. The second day finished with the preparation of the Advisory Board meeting, held on the following day, where the partners reviewed the challenges and topics where they are expecting input from the external Experts.

During the Advisory Board meeting, the WP leaders presented the state of the art of their work. Partners focused on the technological challenges they are facing and formulated questions towards the AB members. Each WP introduction – 5 in total – was followed by ~30 min discussion between the partners and the AB members. Some of the issues that came up during discussions included upscaling of the CHPM technology, harmonizing technological elements, and EGS (Enhanced Geothermal System) technological difficulties.

On the last day, the project partners and Advisory Board members visited the geothermally active Reykjanes Peninsula, SW from Reykjavík. This geothermal field is located in the junction of the divergent plate boundary and local tectonic fissures. The produced hot geothermal steam,  groundwater and seawater are used not only for direct heating, generating electricity, but also for molecular farming (algae cultivation), blue lagoon (spa, clinic, and R&D), fish farming and drying, and methanol production from CO2. The CHPM2030 team also visited the HS ORKA HQ, Reykjanes power plant, Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP-2) drill site, the algae farming facility, and some other geothermal surface manifestations in the peninsula.

Work Package 6 partners will meet again soon in Brussels, at the GeoHub facilitites for a workshop on “harmonization of study area evaluation and 3D modelling”!

*Catalogue of the Active Volcanoes of the World, Vol. 24 Iceland.

(Photos: Tamas Miklovicz, LPRC)

 

CHPM2030 Romania fieldtrip

The CHPM2030 project participants visited the second study area in WP6 Roadmapping and Preparation for Pilots: Beius Basin, Romania. The field trip was organised by Diana Persa and Stefan Marincea from the Geological Institute of Romania.

In WP6, LPRC is deploying its foresight background for both the short-term and long-term planning of the CHPM (Combined Heat Power and Metal extraction) technology, with the involvement of the Partners and Advisory Board members. The short-term planning, by 2030, includes the study of 4 areas in the UK, Romania, Sweden and Portugal, with the help of the representing national geological surveys: British Geological Survey, Geological Institute of Romania, Swedish Geological Survey, Portuguese Geological Survey. The CHPM team recently visited the South-West England study site (read more at CHPM2030 Cornwall Fieldtrip), and now the focus was on the Romanian banatitic magmatic and metallogenic belt.

The participants first visited the town hall of Beius, located on the Northwest of Romania, where the local geothermal district heating system was explained. Some parts of the instrumentation were later visited by team. The field program included visits to several skarn related exposures of the banatitic magmatism, including Budureasa (Valea Mare, quarry with brucite bearing granodiorite-dolomite contact), Pietroasa (Dealul Gruiului, adit for exploiting magnesian borate bearing altered dolomite) and Baita (marble quarry, calcic skarns with base metal sulphides) in the Bihor Mts. and at Cazanesti (Cerboaia Valley, gehlenite bearing high temperature contact zone) in the Magureaua Vatei area. These skarns are especially interesting, as these are expected to be present 3-5 km depth at the host rock and magmatic intrusion contact zones. Since many of the surface exposure skarns were mineralised, it is expected to see similar processes at depth, being a special interest area for simultaneous geothermal energy and mineral extraction, the aim of the CHPM technology.

Besides the field exposures, the participants had the opportunity to visit the Turda salt mine, the Bears’ Cave at Chiscau and the Gold Museum in Brad. The study areas representative geological surveys will meet in October in Brussels, at GeoHub, to further advance discussions on the first pilots, to be developed by 2030.

LPRC participates at BIOMOre final event, Brussels

LPRC attended to BIOMOre, a H2020 funded project on an alternative mining concept, final event on last Friday, 6th of July, in Brussels. The event facilitated discussions between project partners and participants on BIOMOre’s main goal: extracting metals from deep mineralized zones in Europe by coupling solution mining and bioleaching.

The conference started with the presentation of the project by the coordinator, followed by two keynote presentations on the topic of raw materials. First, Massimo Gasparon, from the EIT Raw Materials, talked about the EU raw materials dependence, the need of these materials for the transition to the green economy, the EU Raw Materials Initiative, and the Knowledge Innovation Communities. The second presentation was by Bjorn Debecker, from the EASME, and explained how the EU is tackling the raw materials challenge, through funding project like BIOMOre. The afternoon session was based on BIOMOre-themed talks with the Work Packages leaders introducing the project in further detail: mining, bio-leaching and sustainability were amongst them.

The BIOMOre project has been working on a New Mining Concept for Extracting Metals from Deep Ore Deposits using Biotechnology. The final objective is to develop an optimized technological concept for in-situ recovering of metals from the surface, without the need of establishing an underground infrastructure. This technology, if successful, will make commodities accessible at depths greater than 1,500 m ( and temperatures around 50 – 60 ºC) which are currently not exploitable using traditional underground methods.

Watch the movie to learn more about the project concept.

FORAM Pilot Event, Nancy

LPRC has attended the pilot event for the World Forum on Raw Materials (FORAM) in Nancy, France, on the 27th of June of 2018. The FORAM project aims to create a Forum focused on raw materials, where the relevant stakeholders are involved. This pilot event served as a basis for the future of the platform.

One of the main goals of the event was to create a dialogue with FORAM stakeholders in order to clarify the future role of the World Forum on Raw Materials. First on the event, keynote talks were given, introducing the project and setting the scenery for discussions, which were followed by interactive workshops. Three workshops were organised in parallel sessions: Knowledge Management, Policies and Strategies and, International Cooperation.

The afternoon was place to more keynote talks, where issues around mineral raw materials were debated. The most important outcomes of this event, structured mainly from the workshops’ discussions, were presented and steps for the future mentioned, to an eager audience.

LPRC fully supports the idea of the creation of a World Forum on Raw Materials!

LPRC at the “Building the lithium value chain in Portugal” seminar, Brussels

On the 27th of June, LPRC attended a conference based on the litium value chain. The event entitled “Building the lithium value chain in Portugal” brought together stakeholders and other interested parties in the theme, and LPRC was amongst them.

Lithium is quickly becoming a crucial element for modern society: it leads the electrification of transport and energy sectors, needed for the necessary changes towards a carbon neutral society. This was acknowledged by European responsible persons from the Portuguese and European institutions such as the DGEG and DG Grow, respectively. In order to push for a greener, more sustainable community, the EU needs to foster the entire value chain of lithium, from mineral prospection to recycling, with the circular economy concept as a goal.

Many stakeholders including exploration and processing companies, and users of lithium as a final product such as Tesla and Umicore had talks regarding lithium during this event. One of the main points arising from discussions is that lithium is a very important and strategic element for the future, and Portugal, as well as other European countries, has the potential to explore lithium resources that can make Europe lead the electrification revolution in the near future.

However, there needs to be a lot of effort to improve the current processing technologies, if Europe wants to take full advantages of its natural resources. To support this view the EU has already created groups to deal with batteries and lithium related products issues and will invest more in research and innovation in this field.

The future of lithium in Europe is bright, but there needs to be a common effort from stakeholders to make it happen coupled with a continuous look into the near future.

©European Union

Busy week in Brussels

On June 4, LPRC joined the FTA (Future-oriented Technology analysis) 2018 – Future in the making at the Square Business Centre in Brussels. The event is organised every two years by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The conference opening was held by Vladimir Sucha, Directorate-General of JRC. The keynote speaker, Gerd Leonhard, brought a presentation on ‘Technology vs Humanity’ and reflected over the impacts that the exponential evolution of technology can have in our society and us as human beings. After the plenary, parallel sessions were held, and LPRC joined “The changing nature of work” and the “Changing the paradigm to build a sustainable future?” sessions.

After the opening keynote speech in the morning session, LPRC participated in 3 parallel sessions. The first one, about Scenario design for policy making, involved speakers from private companies, governmental bodies, and EU projects. Here, they talked about a scenario-based strategising approach, counterfactual construction of scenarios for the future, debiasing political decision making trough “value-free” scenario models, using science fiction and design to materialise scenarios, and the combination of scenarios with multi-actor multi-criteria analysis. The second session was entitled “Towards innovative approaches” and showcased many new and hybrid foresight methods that are already being used. At the last session, it was presented an in-depth review of current applications of the Horizon Scanning technique, including foresight radars and circular foresight processes. It was interesting to see how many companies, governments and EU projects are using foresight methods and future studies for various reasons and applications – and there are a lot.

On June 5, LPRC presented the !VAMOS¡ project at the “Social Acceptance in the European Raw Materials Sector” event organised by EASME. The presentation focused on the two stakeholders’ engagements that the project ¡VAMOS! had so far and general aspects of mining social acceptance, with the particular case of a novel technology as is the ¡VAMOS! one. The event brought together a diverse audience and many European projects sharing their experiences with social acceptance in the context of raw materials.

The EU Sustainable Energy Week took place between the 5th and 7th of June in Brussels. The main event, focusing on sustainable energies, was followed by many side events. One of these events, the “Upscaling Blue Energy”, hosted by IMIEU on the 7th, was attended by Tamas Miklovicz, where he presented the CHPM2030 project to the participants. Later that day, at the main venue, EFG and LPRC co-organized a session on “Decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector: coupling efficiency and renewables with security of supply”. During the presentations, Tamas Miklovicz talked about multidisciplinary approaches for geothermal resources, including the CHPM technology, and Anita Demeny (EFG) participated in the panel discussion.