Report on the 1st Raw Materials Week, Brussels

Last week, La Palma Research Centre colleagues Tamás Miklovicz and Cameron Sword participated in a series of workshops and talks organised by the European Commission as part of the European Raw Materials Week in Brussels. The event gathered important players in the raw materials community from Europe and beyond, and focused on broad-ranging discussions between researchers, industrial partners, and policy makers.

On Monday afternoon, the kick-off meeting was held for our new project FORAM: Towards a World Forum on Raw Materials. During the kick-off meeting, the coordinator first introduced the project and consortium members, and then the floor was given to Work Package leaders to describe and explain the work in detail.


Vitor Correia presenting FORAM Work Package 3: Vision and Focus

On Tuesday morning, Cameron and Tamas participated at the SLO (Social Licence to Operate) Conference, organised by Montanuniversität Leoben. The title of the conference was ‘Re-Connecting Raw Materials with Society.’ Speakers discussed a number of best practices and initiatives which significantly improve the connection between mining companies with local communities.


Opening of the  SLO Conference by Peter Moser, Montanuniversitat Leoben

During the FORAM Public Launch on Tuesday evening, Mathias Schluep (WRFA) gave a concise overview of the project, which was then followed by a panel discussion. Amid an active discussion with the audience, panel members Ruediger Kuehr (UNU), Marcin Sadowski (EASME), Luca Demicheli (EGS), Vitor Correia (EFG), and Mathias Schluep (WRFA) debated obstacles, trends, opportunities, challenges, and initiatives within the world of raw materials.


The panel discussion during the public launch of FORAM

On Wednesday morning, EFG and Fraunhofer IAO led a session on ‘INTRAW: Future Scenarios on International Raw Materials Provision’ at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. The workshop began with the project coordinator Vitor Correia giving a short presentation about the INTRAW project, followed by an introduction to the scenario technique by Flavius Sturm. Following this, the participants were divided into three groups whose objective was to discuss three end-member scenarios devised by the INTRAW team. Each group then engaged in a one-hour discussion on the credibility & accuracy of their scenario, its consequences for raw materials, and the specific actions that need to be taken for the EU to be well positioned in their specific scenario.


Tamas Miklovicz (LPRC) and Tina Brenda (Slovenian Geological Survey)  facilitating discussion on the “Sustainable Alliance” scenario.

During the early afternoon, speakers presented the Raw Materials topics of Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2017, the ERA-MIN 2, and EIT Raw Materials calls. In the evening, various participants were presenting project ideas.


UNEXMIN, VAMOS, and INTRAW project material was in displayed at events across Brussels during Raw Materials Week.

The 4th annual High Level Conference of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials took place on Thursday. The programme was divided into a high-level panel on Raw Materials Beyond 2020, and three distinct sessions. The first session regarded ‘Raw Materials Needs in a Future Circular, Low-carbon Economy’ – Prof. Julian M. Allwood gave an inspiring presentation on the low-carbon economy. The second session focused on ‘Copernicus for Raw Materials’, which is part of the European Earth Observation Programme. The day ended with a session on ‘Framework Conditions for Sustainable Mining.’