The Futures of Critical Raw Materials in Europe explored at the 2024 Futures Conference in Turku

On the past 13th and 14th of June, La Palma Research Centre was present at the 24th Futures Conference organised by the Finland Futures Research Centre & the Finland Futures Academy, from the University of Turku, in cooperation with the Natural Resources Institute Finland. Participation in this event was linked to the CIRAN project. The theme of the 2024 Futures Conference edition was the “Futures of Natural Resources”, consisting of a pre-Conference virtual programme (4th of June) and two full days of keynote lectures, parallel sessions, and participatory workshops, altogether generating a space for knowledge-exchange, experience-sharing, and fostering transdisciplinarity around the foresights and future alternatives for the preservation, protection, regulation, use, and application of natural resources.  

It was in this context, that the EU-funded CIRAN project was represented by LPRC’s researcher Helena Robert i Campos, who hosted a participatory workshop on Task 3.3 ‘Nexus of societal vulnerabilities’ within WP3 (Nexus between Policy Decisions and Drivers of Change). The workshop encouraged participants to delve into future possible scenarios for Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) in Europe. CRMs are essential components in various high-tech industries, including renewable energy, electronics, and automotive manufacturing. As Europe strives to transition to a green development model, ensuring a stable and sustainable supply of these materials has become a top priority.  

The event brought together leading experts, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to discuss CRM autonomy and the foresights for their extraction in European environmentally protected areas, highlighting the relevance of circularity across value chains and consumption patterns, as well as the transformative trends in the extractive and mining sectors, such as the advances in robotisation and remote-sensing techniques.

Participants were introduced to the four Future Scenarios for 2035 generated by LPRC from the outcomes of previous foresight exercises such as the Delphi Survey. Afterwards, participants had the chance to actively discuss and outline the key drivers and changes that need to happen to support sustainable CRM management. These included, among others: investment in recycling infrastructure to recover CRMs from end-of-life products, funding and the need to strengthen partnerships with non-EU countries to secure a diversified supply chain and fair CRMs cooperation.

To conclude, the LPRC team acknowledges the great engagement of workshop participants and thanks them for their valuable contribution to the development of the CIRAN project. It equally thanks the organising institutions for successfully coordinating another edition of the Futures Conference. Looking forward to participating in Turku next year! 

For more information on the CIRAN Project and upcoming events, please visit the CIRAN Project Website.

CIRAN Consortium Meeting, Lisbon, Portugal, 22-25 January 2024

The CIRAN project held its annual physical meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, between the 22nd and 25th of January 2024. This event was attended by representatives of the partners as well as members of the Group of Experts. La Palma Research Centre joined the event with five members and hosted a data collection workshop. 

The first day of the CIRAN consortium meeting was dedicated to the partners’ presentations on the different Work Packages that make the project, from the technical to the less technical ones, where partners discussed their work towards the responsible sourcing of critical raw materials in protected zones through a plan for sustainable resource extraction. LPRC presented its work on Task 3.3 – Nexus between policy decisions and drivers of change. 

The second day was dedicated to two data collection workshops. LPRC was responsible for organizing and hosting the first workshop of the day, which was dedicated to scenarios planning. The second workshop was dedicated to policy making. For its workshop the LPRC team created four unique stations to discuss future scenarios for CIRAN based on the assessment of the Drivers of Change, the results from the Delphi Survey and the previously-developed INTRAW geopolitical scenarios. This was a great opportunity to engage with project partners and experts to collect unique views and opinions that will help the LPRC team to create CIRAN Scenarios for 2035. 

On the third day the meeting participants went on a field trip to the municipality of Porto de Mós, where they were given presentations on the conciliation between mining activities and nature conservation, as represented by the quarrying activities within the boundaries of the Serras de Aire and Candeeiros Nature Park, relevant examples for CIRAN’s work. The participants had the chance to visit such quarrying activities and to understand what drives the balance between economic interest and nature protection. 

The final day was dedicated to management aspects, including the planning for the coming year’s activities, where engagement with experts and stakeholders will be a crucial aspect. 

Follow the project on its social media channels and website to keep up-to-date!

CIRAN project Kick-off, Brussels, January 2023

The recently started CIRAN EU-funded project held its Kick-off meeting in Brussels, Belgium, and the LPRC team was present to meet project partners, discuss the objectives and map the many implementation aspects of CIRAN, especially the ones that are most relevant to LPRC.

CIRAN – CrItical RAw materials extraction in enviroNmentally protected areas – is an EU-funded Horizon Europe project that aims at reconciling two societal objectives and needs: protecting environmentally sensitive areas and increasing socio-economic resilience. The project that just started on the 1st of January 2023 and that will last until 31st December 2025, counts with 13 partners from 11 European countries. The project partners met for the first time in Brussels, Belgium, on the 10th and 11th of January 2023 for the Kick-off meeting, organised by INTRAW, the project coordinator. The total list of consortium members includes:

  • International Raw Materials Observatory (INTRAW)
  • MacCabeDurneyBarnes (MDB)
  • Geologian tutkimuskeskus (GTK)
  • Telos Aleff (TAL)
  • Sveriges Geologiska Undersökning (SGU)
  • Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA)
  • Regione Emilia-Romagna (RER)
  • La Palma Research Centre (LPRC)
  • Geologia e Geotecnia Consultores (GGC)
  • Generator (GEN)
  • Proman Consulting (PRM)
  • Petronavitas (PN)
  • Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)

The agenda of the meeting focused on connecting and engaging with project partners, generating trust and a collaborative environment for the project implementation. From this perspective, the work plan for the project was detailed and discussed. LPRC attended to present the planned work for Task 3.3 – Nexus between policy decisions and drivers of change and Task 7.1 – Communication and outreach. LPRC leads these two tasks where it will implement foresight-based exercises to collect data from experts on the connection points between policy and drivers of change that affect policymaking and develop, create and implement communication tools such as the website, social media, brochures and other material to connect the project with the relevant stakeholders.

Project work will now continue and more news will follow.