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Launch of the European Raw Materials Intelligence Capacity Platform

On January 2018, the H2020 MICA (Mineral Intelligence Capacity Analysis) Project was finalized concurrently with the launch of the European Raw Materials Intelligence Capacity Platform (EU-RMICP) contributing to the European Raw Materials Knowledge Base (EU-RMKB). Knowledge is essential for ensuring a sustainable and secure global supply of raw materials, both primary and secondary, to the EU’s economy and society. Proper knowledge management promotes activities of the raw materials sector, regarding not only exploration, extraction, processing/refining and recycling, but also investments, innovation, trade, development, skills and education. Knowledge is also key for policy support, informed debate and decision-making.

During the last 2 years the project brought together 16 partners from 13 different countries plus 15 geological surveys as linked third parties (LTPs) to assess raw materials stakeholders needs, collect and build a database and assess relevant methods and tools on raw materials intelligence, to investigate raw materials intelligence options for European mineral policy development and build a web-based intelligence platform (EU-RMICP). LPRC was actively involved as task leaders in “Strategic Raw Materials Intelligence Approaches”. Check out the new platform!

Delphi survey in the pipeline

The LPRC’s foresight team is currently working on a two-round Delphi* survey for the CHPM2030 project in order to look into the future of important but uncertain issues related to CHPM -Combined Heat Power and Metal extraction – technology.

CHPM is a low-TRL, novel, potentially disruptive, but fragile idea, and therefore needs future oriented thinking and further nurturing beyond the duration of the project to become viable. LPRC’s Foresight team has taken on this challenge with the implementation of the Roadmapping and Preparation for Pilots work package. These forward-looking efforts aim to set the ground for subsequent pilot implementation by working on three interlinked areas: mapping convergent technology areas, study pilot areas and develop research roadmaps.

Schematic representation of a CHPM facility. ©CHPM2030 Team

The Delphi survey is in direct relation with the first area: mapping convergent technology areas, and represents long-term planning (for the year 2050). Preparation to the survey started with a small-scale Horizon Scanning exercise, including a literature review and an Experts’ workshop in Lanzarote in order to identify relevant factors, drivers, trends and issues to be further investigated in the Delphi. First, the structure and topics were drafted by LPRC and it was refined/completed during the Lanzarote workshop with the input from all Consortium partners. During this workshop, partners were mapping key interest areas (geothermal drilling, scaling, metal recovery, exploration, etc.), identifying gaps (challenges, bottlenecks, difficulties, enablers) within these areas, and then came up with ideas for statements to be used in the Delphi survey. The work has been split into two groups and facilitated by the moderators of LPRC.

Workshop in Lanzarote, Canary Islands

The final survey included 12 statements on topics from both geothermal (scaling, geothermal drilling, metal mobilization, etc.) and mineral (geophysical methods, use of AI and ML for data interpretation, deep exploration drilling, etc.) topics, together with overall operational challenges (Social Licence to Operate, market penetration, etc.). The participants were asked to freely comment on the statements in the 1st round. In the 2nd round, the previous comments and insight were already included, so the participants were invited to comment in light of previous Expert opinions, reaching towards a consensus. Additional input fields were added: time horizon and previously identified emerging issues. Together with the 1st and 2nd round, more than 160 surveys have been completed by Experts from both mineral and geothermal sectors, worldwide.

Global participation in the first 1st round of the CHPM2030 Delphi survey.

The 2nd round of the CHPM2030 Delphi survey has just finished! LPRC is currently processing the results. However, if you would like to participate in the following “open” round, with curiosity of the statements, please go ahead and read what the Experts have to say about the future of Combined Heat Power and Metal extraction technology and more: share your own opinion!

Access the Delphi survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/FWcgdHJsXqLfTv0I3

*The Delphi survey was originally developed as a technological forecasting technique, which aimed at reaching consensus over relevant technological developments. Nowadays, Delphi expanded into a variety of modified approaches. However, at its core Delphi stands out as a reliable method in situations where individual judgements must be tapped and combined to address an incomplete state of knowledge. Delphi is based on anonymous opinions of experts who are fed back the results of a round-based survey, allowing these experts to rethink their judgement and converge to consensus over key identified areas.

©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.

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.

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