The SuperCluster Lapland Geoconference will take place on the 30th and 31st Octobre 2023 in Rovaniemi, Finland. This clustering event represents a significant effort to address the EU’s dependency on critical raw materials and promote self-sufficiency in mineral supply value chain. Some of the key points about the event are:
- Dependency on Critical Raw Materials. The EU relies heavily on a limited number of countries for critical raw materials, which are essential for strategic industries like e-mobility, batteries, and renewable energy.
- Opportunity for Self-Sufficiency. Europe has the potential to become self-sufficient, resilient, sustainable, and responsible in its supply of critical minerals due to its geological resources and significant mineral endowment.
- Multi-Element Mining. Critical raw materials are often obtained as by-products from primary commodity mines. Transitioning to a multi-element mining approach is necessary, requiring new exploration methods and concepts.
- EU-Funded Projects. Thirteen EU-funded raw materials projects and the University of Queensland (Australia) are collaborating to organize the European Union SuperCluster Lapland Geoconference. These projects focus on research and development in the raw materials sector.
The main objective is to bring together a diverse range of stakeholders, including the European Commission, EU projects, regional authorities, industrial representatives, exploration companies, and other interested parties in order to discuss technological challenges and topics related to the raw materials sector.
This initiative represents a crucial step in addressing the EU’s raw materials challenges and fostering cooperation among stakeholders to enhance the region’s self-sufficiency in critical minerals. It provides a platform for sharing ideas and innovations in raw materials exploration and supply.
Event Structure and schedule:
The event will include 20-minute oral sessions, poster presentations, and dedicated discussion time to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration. There are no planned keynote talks, as the focus is on hearing from as many EU-funded project participants as possible.
Oral presentations are divided into five sessions between October 30th and 31st:
- Session 1: Innovative mineral exploration: 30th at 10.15 – 12.00
- Session 2: Earth observation in exploration and mining: 30th at 13.15 – 15.00
- Session 3: Environmental, Social and Governance in exploration and mining: 30th at 15.30 – 17.30
- Session 4: Critical Raw Materials supply: 31st at 08.30 – 10.00
- Session 5: New frontiers for exploration: 31st at 10.30 – 11.45
This event will be the biggest clustering event for the EU-funded raw materials-related projects and other projects ever. Around 130-140 people will attend, representing 28 projects. LPRC will participate representing 5 of those projects: CIRAN, CRM-Geothermal, ROBOMINERS, START and TRIDENT.
La Palma Research Centre (LPRC) was present at an event to introduce the non-academic partners to the students of the TIMREX MSc programme. The Partner Introductory Event was an opportunity for students to learn about the activities and added value from industry partners in TIMREX with regards to innovations in mineral exploration and the opportunities for students to join their activities.
LPRC presented the company, its mission and vision for the geosciences and sustainable development. The presentation then focused on the TIMREX work on mapping Innovation and Entrepreneurship-related skills and competencies, how these are considered in TIMREX and how students can benefit from acquiring certain skills for professional and personal development alike. The title of the presentation was “Defining future skills and competencies needs for the raw materials sector”.
Work will continue with the integration in the TIMREX curricula of means to deliver the selected skills and competencies.
The UNEXUP project partners met in Ljubljana – Slovenia, as well as online, for the 5th progress meeting. The hybrid event was held on 5 and 6 July 2022, with the purpose of discussing what has been achieved in the past semester (since the last Progress Meeting in January 2022), and to plan the activities to be completed until the end of the project – in December 2022.
The meeting started with a clustering workshop between the UNEXUP, ROBOMINERS and Pipebots projects. After that, the Work Package leaders presented their work, followed by short discussions about the covered topics – which closed the first day of the event. On the 6th of July the meetings resumed with open discussions about post-processing of underwater images, the draft agenda of the UNEXUP Final Conference, as well as a visit to the facilities of the partner – and host of the event – GeoZS (Geological Survey of Slovenia).
In this opportunity, LPRC (portrayed by Marcio Tameirão) presented the progress of Work Package 4: Communication, dissemination and outreach, which it leads. The talk covered the updates on the main tasks, such as communication and dissemination management; production of outreach materials; and collaboration with the promotion of UGR (UNEXMIN GeoRobotics) services, the commercialization partner in UNEXUP. The main topic of discussions was the UNEXUP Final Conference, which is planned to happen in November 2022 – in Brussels, Belgium. The partners reviewed the draft agenda that was presented, and jointly made improvements – which will be further discussed in the upcoming months.
This event was the last official Progress Meeting before the UNEXUP Final Conference. In the next months there will be further robotic developments and field missions, and you can stay tuned by following UNEXUP on social media and through the project website!
The 2020 edition of the Mineral Exploration Symposium was a two-day virtual event (17-18 September) organized by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). Despite the fact that it had to be held online, it was still a great opportunity for many researchers and members of the mining industry to present and discuss the current state of projects and initiatives that intend to address a continuous supply of critical raw materials to the EU.
The first day started with an introductory section, lead by members of the European Commission. One of the speakers – Gerardo Herrera (DG Grow) – mentioned the UNEXMIN project, in which LPRC was an active partner, during his talk on “Introduction to the EU challenges on mineral exploration and its importance for the society”.
The following sessions covered EU-funded projects related to raw materials exploration methods, technologies and innovation in the sector, which is a crucial step towards the achievement of the ambitious climate goals set by the EU Green Deal. The technologies involved in the clean energy transition (e.g. electric cars, wind turbines, solar panels and others) will require a substantial amount of critical raw materials, which translates to an increase in mining activities and new exploration methods in the EU.
LPRC member Márcio Tameirão represented the UNEXUP project under Session 3: European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Raw Materials, by presenting the context, history, and current state of the activities towards the improvement and commercialization of the UX-based robotic technology.
The event counted with a maximum of 200 attendees, from all over the world, who could learn more and ask questions about the current state of the many ongoing EU-funded raw materials projects.