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.

CHPM2030 Cornwall field trip

The CHPM2030 partners met in Cornwall between the 22-24th of May, to study the Cornubian granite province, which is a potential CHPM site in the future. The field trip was led and hosted by Eimear Deady and Richard Shaw from the British Geological Survey.

The first day started at the United Downs geothermal project site. This site is being prepared for a geothermal drilling operation. The well doublet goes into the Carnmenellis granite body and the produced hot water will fuel a demonstration power plant with 1 megawatt of electric power. The next stop from the field trip was at the Carn Brea viewpoint where the tectonic setting, geology and mineralization in the area around the Camborne-Redruth mining district was explained. Next, the partners visited the famous Crowns engine houses at Botallack and had a guided tour at the Geevor tin mine, including ore processing facilities and underground tunnels. In the evening, the CHPM2030 partners had the opportunity to network with industry representatives in Cornwall, including the Cornish Lithium, GeoScience Limited, Avalon Science Limited, Camborne School of Mines and EGS Energy.

On the second day, the group visited the old HDR site at Rosemanowes Quarry in the Carnmenellis Granite. The deep drill holes, (>2000 meters), are still open and perfect for Avalon Science Limited to test and calibrate their latest cutting edge equipments. The next stop was at the Wheal Jane mine water treatment plant. Wheal Jane was a tin mine, which closed in 1991. The water is currently being pumped from the mine and treated in surface facilities. During the afternoon the partners studied the porphyritic biotite granite at Cligga head. Sheeted greisen tin-tungsten (Sn-W) and tin-tungsten-copper (Sn-W-Cu) can be observed with sulphide mineralizations. The second day finished with a discussion about the study area’s evaluation strategies related to WP6 – Roadmapping and Preparation to Pilots. The field trip was closed with the visit to Rinsey Cove, where it could be observed how the Tregonning-Godolphin Granite intruded into the local metasedimentary rocks, and their interaction.

360 degree view of the granite-metasediment contact zone, exposed near the shore platform (drag and move the photo to look around).

The CHPM2030 partners gather again in Romania to visit the next study area!

  • Reference: Evolution of the Cornubian granite province, its mineralisation history and geothermal potential – Guide to the field excursion, edited by Eimear Deady, Richard Shaw, Paul Lusty, Chris Rochelle, BGS, soon available from CHPM2030 website.

LPRC at the 2nd SISBRAMME event, Porto Alegre

On May 3, LPRC joined the 2nd SISBRAMME (South Brazilian Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Symposium) held at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This annual event is a joint effort from both the local SME (Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration) and the SEG (Society of Economic Geologists) student chapters. The 2018 edition’s theme was “Base Industries” and LPRC brought in a presentation entitled “Technological Innovations in Mining – Case Studies in Europe”, providing an overview over the portfolio of projects the company has been involved in recently and also the European context for research & innovation in the mineral raw materials sector. The event was attended by students, professors and local industry representatives.

The region of south Brazil is currently experiencing a renewed interest in mining through advanced projects (Phosphate and Zinc), prospect of new ones (Nickel and Gold), deep-sea mining and socio-political debates over environmental impacts and the future of local coal mining. Our Foresight expert and representative Marco Konrat Martins underlined the importance of Foresight as a powerful tool to help researchers, policy-makers and industry to deal with the diversity of expectations and the uncertainties stemming from mineral resources exploitation.

CHPM2030 LTP Orientation workshop, Brussels

The European Federation Geologists organized an orientation workshop for the National Associations (Linked Third Parties), involved in CHPM2030 project. The workshop was connected with WP6 – Roadmapping and Preparation for Pilots, managed by La Palma Research Centre. Earlier in the project, the LTPs were involved in data availability, and now in WP6 the focus shifts to data evaluation. The aim of the event was to update the LTPs about the recent development of the project and to create guidelines and instructions for CHPM prospective areas selection & evaluation.

The workshop started with a welcome and opening from Isabel Fernandez (EFG), followed by Éva Hartai’s (UNIM) presentation about the the project as a whole at its latest development stage. The next talk, by Gerhard Schwarz (SGU), presented the data availability and summary of country reports, that has been done earlier in the project. Tamas Madarasz (UNIM), then explained the details of the CHPM technology building blocks: underground heat exchanger, production pump, metal recovery at high pressure/temperature), surface heat exchanger in the geothermal power plant, gas diffusion electro-precipitation metal recovery, salt gradient power generation, injection well. The next presentation, by Tamas Miklovicz (LPRC), introduced the overall picture at WP6 level, and explained objectives for the study area evaluation. Before the workshop, Anita Demény, from EFG, further detailed the objective of the LTP efforts.

The workshop was divided in two parts: area selection and area evaluation for CHPM technology application. The first part was an example-led discussion, while considering different geological cases and deciding whether it was of interest for the project or not. The second part was dedicated to develop and elaborate an a harmonised framework, that will guide a possible study area evaluation for CHPM potential.

The workshop was very successful in both updating the LTPs on the latest CHPM technology development and on gathering ideas and adjusting the framework for study areas’ evaluation. During 2018, the LTPs will be selecting and evaluating areas in Europe, where the CHPM technology could be applied in the future, thus creating an EU spatial database for prospective locations.

CHPM2030 Consortium meeting, Lanzarote

The CHPM2030 5th Consortium meeting took place in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, between the 21st and 23rd of March, hosted by La Palma Research Centre. The meeting started with a one-day consortium meeting, followed by workshops on WP4 – System Integration and on WP6 – Roadmapping and preparation for pilots on the second day. During the last day, the participants joined to a field trip in the Timanfaya National Park.

The consortium meeting proceed according to the common practice: going through the each of the Work Packages, updating work done and new results since the last meeting (CHPM Brusels meeting, 2017.10.11-14). After a short welcoming of the participants and meeting practicalities from LPRC, Éva Hartai officially started the meeting with an overall project update, followed by a presentation from Aranka Földessy about preparations for the project reporting. The second session continued with presentations on WP2 – Laboratory experiments and orebody investigation by partners from University of Szeged, BGS, VITO and University of Miskolc. The next session in the afternoon presented progress in WP3 – Metal recovery and electrochemical power generation by VITO and KU Leuven colleagues. The first day also included an update on WP5 – Integrated Sustainability Assessment (University of Szeged and MinPol) and WP7 – Dissemination (EFG).

The second day brought something new to the meeting. The WP leaders decided to take a more interactive approach to introduce their work. The morning session was dedicated to WP4 – System integration, and it was moderated by the respective WP leader, Árni Ragnarsson (ISOR). This is a critical work package where the partners integrate and harmonize different elements of the system together. The discussed topics included: Conceptual framework for CHPM (Combined Heat Power and Metal extraction) power plant, Process simulation and optimisation, Process simulation and optimisation, Final design process.

The afternoon workshop was organized by La Palma Research Centre and was focused on WP6 – Roadmapping and Preparation for Pilots. This work package is setting the ground for subsequent CHPM technology implementation in the future. Therefore, it maps convergent technology areas, studies pilot areas and develops research roadmaps, in order to bring the realization of CHPM technology forward in time. This requires short-term planning (including pilot preparation) and long-term planning (including a Delphi survey).

The first WP6 workshop was dedicated to the long-term planning and the development of a CHPM2030 Delphi survey. Marco Konrat (LPRC) introduced the Delphi method, which will be used later to obtain experts’ opinions on the critical interest areas in CHPM technology. Marco explained that Delphi is a long-term foresight tool to make judgements in the face of uncertainty, expert knowledge based, containing 2 rounds of an iterative process, and that it will assess the long term (2050) applications of CHPM technology. After this, Tamas Miklovicz (LPRC) presented Task 6.1 – Horizon Scanning and Visions objectives, structure and methodology for the CHPM2030 Delphi survey. Within this subtask, Horizon Scanning will present a baseline for CHPM technology in 2018, the Delphi will assess the future of the technology, the established Vision (Visioning workshop later this year) will provide a goal to arrive by 2030/2050 and the Roadmaps will set the implementation of how to arrive to the desired vision.  The workshop participants were given the task to first map key interest areas (important for CHPM technology), identify gaps (which is important but uncertain) and nominate concrete issues within the gaps that we are interested in the experts’ opinion.

The second workshop was dedicated to the evaluation of the study areas. Within this subtask all efforts will be made towards the support of the first implementation of CHPM technology. In particular, the focus will be on four areas, represented by BGS (UK), SGU (Sweden), IGR (Romania), and LNEG (Portugal), beside an European Outlook of prospective CHPM location, with the help of EFG LTPs (Linked Third Parties). In WP1 the main objective was to survey data availability on these areas. In WP6 the effort shifts to data evaluation. In order to create a consistent assessment of each site, an evaluation framework has to be set up, which was the aim of this session. Anita Demény presented an update on the LTP work, summarising WP1 results and introducing WP6 planning. After the introduction, the study area representatives presented their plans to evaluate each study area. This was followed by the workshop. The goal of the exercise was to get the technology developers and study area representatives into a dialogue and discuss what a study area evaluation shall include. The technology developers presented requirements, while the study area representatives presented availability at their sites, in a matchmaking exercise.

The CHPM2030 Lanzarote meeting closed with a field trip to Timanfaya National Park, where the partners had a guided tour and learned about the formation and volcanic structures of the park. The eruption started in 1730 and lasted for 6 years – with 100 active volcanoes covering 50 km2! Even though the eruption was almost 3 centuries ago, the volcanic rocks are fresh, due to the arid climate and therefore the lack of chemical/physical weathering. This makes them the perfect place for a geological lesson!

The CHPM2030 Consortium gathers again in Iceland later this year!

KINDRA Final Conference, Brussels

Over the past 3 years the La Palma Research has been part of KINDRA project, aimed to gather and standardise groundwater knowledge and research across Europe by means of a EU-wide assessment of existing groundwater-related practical and scientific knowledge based on a new Hydrogeological Research Classification System (HRC-SYS), created by the project team. This classification is supported by a web-service – the European Inventory of Groundwater Research (EIGR) –acting not only as a knowledge repository but also as a tool to help identify relevant research topics, existing research trends and critical research challenges.

Panel discussion with Johan Stierna (DG Research and Innovation), Elisa Vargas (WG C, DG Environment) and Isabel Fernandez (EFG)

The project’s Final Conference in Brussels (BE) the 27th of February 2018, hosted in the Académie Royale de Bruxelles was co-organised by LPRC. The conference provided an overview of the work and measures developed, gathering feedback on the results obtained and planning for the future, so that the project outcomes -namely the EIGR- can be sustained after the end of KINDRA. Several member of the European Commission, as well as EASME, the International Association of Hydrogeologists and many more important stakeholders in science, research and groundwater were present and actively involved in Q&A and debates through the conference.

KINDRA Project ran for three years organised by a Consortium of nine partners, twenty linked third parties and ten members of the Joint Panel of Experts, making a total of twenty EU-countries collaborating. La Palma Research is proud to be part of this very important mission for the future of groundwater research.

Symposium on Social License to Operate, Leuven

On the 21st of February, a symposium took place in Leuven, and LPRC was present. The event focussed on the thematic of Transitioning to a low-carbon economy and the social license to operate for mining and recycling of critical metals.

The symposium elaborated on the paradox of the “Importance of critical metals for the transition to a low carbon, cleantech-based economy versus the not-always-so-positive image of the primary mining industry”. On one hand, Europe undoubtedly needs critical metals for the transition to a desired low carbon, cleantech economy – however, it is import dependent regarding most of the metals, needed to reach this transition. On the other hand, society often has a negative image on mining, since historical extraction gave mining a bad name.

The members of the audience, who were naturally divided into “social” and “technological” groups, had a passionate discussion about this topic and its implications to society. This shows that dialogue is crucial, and not only that, but also opens minds too, in order to arrive to a common understanding between different stakeholders.

The symposium opened with two introductory talks. The first keynote was from Serge de Gheldere (Futureproofed), who proposed business-led, sustainable solutions, resulting new businesses, reduced risks, better branding and lower costs. After the keynote speech, a panel discussion took place. The afternoon session, begin with two keynote presentations from Egbert Lox (UMICORE) and Leida Rijnhout (Friends of the Earth Europe) presenting social and industrial viewpoints. The discussions continued with a panel and Q&A session with the audience.

The event closed with an concise talk from Marcin Sadowski, Head of Raw Materials sector, EC EASME,  where he presented the overall European policy approach to achieve sustainable goals.