The X-MINE project supports better resource characterization and estimation as well as more efficient ore extraction in existing mine operations, making the mining of smaller and complex deposits economically feasible and increasing potential European mineral resources (specifically in the context of critical raw materials) without generating adverse environmental impact. The project will implement large-scale demonstrators of novel sensing technologies improving the efficiency and sustainability of mining operations based on X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), X-Ray Transmission (XRT) technologies, 3D vision and their integration with mineral sorting equipment and mine planning software systems. The project will deploy these technologies in 4 existing mining operations in Sweden, Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus. The sites have been chosen to illustrate different sizes (from small-scale to large-scale) and different target minerals (zinc-lead-silver-gold, copper-gold, gold) including the presence of associated critical metals such as indium, gallium, germanium, platinum group metals and rare earth elements. The pilots will be evaluated in the context of scientific, technical, socio-economic, lifecycle, health and safety performances. The sensing technologies developed in the project will improve exploration and extraction efficiency, resulting in less blasting required for mining. The technologies will also enable more efficient and automated mineral-selectivity at extraction stage, improving ore pre-concentration options and resulting in lower use of energy, water, chemicals and men hours (worker exposure) during downstream processing. The consortium includes 6 industrial suppliers, 4 research/academic organizations, 4 mining companies and 1 mining association. The project has a duration of 51 months and a requested EC contribution of €9.3M.
CHPM2030 aims to develop a novel and potentially disruptive technology solution that can help satisfy the European needs for energy and strategic metals in a single interlinked process. Working at the frontiers of geothermal resources development, minerals extraction and electro-metallurgy the project aims at converting ultra-deep metallic mineral formations into an “orebody-EGS” that will serve as a basis for the development of a new type of facility for “Combined Heat, Power and Metal extraction” (CHPM). In the technology envisioned the metal-bearing geological formation will be manipulated in a way that the co-production of energy and metals will be possible, and may be optimised according to the market demands at any given moment in the future. The workplan has been set up in a way to provide proof-of-concept for the following hypotheses: 1. The composition and structure of orebodies have certain advantages that could be used to our advantage when developing an EGS; 2. Metals can be leached from the orebodies in high concentrations over a prolonged period of time and may substantially influence the economics of EGS; 3. The continuous leaching of metals will increase system’s performance over time in a controlled way and without having to use high-pressure reservoir stimulation, minimizing potential detrimental impacts of both heat and metal extraction. As a final outcome the project will deliver blueprints and detailed specifications of a new type of future facility that is designed and operated from the very beginning as a combined heat, power and metal extraction system. The horizontal aim is to provide new impetus to geothermal development in Europe by investigating previously unexplored pathways at low-TRL. This will be achieved by developing a Roadmap in support of the pilot implementation of such system before 2025, and full-scale commercial implementation before 2030
The exploitation of minerals in Europe is an indispensable activity to ensure that the present and future needs of the European society can be met. This means that sufficient access is required to explore and exploit minerals. At the same time the mineral needs of our society must be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accordingly exploitable mineral deposits (known deposits, abandoned mines and historical mining sites) need to be assessed against other land uses, taking into account criteria such as habitats, other environmental concerns, priorities for settlements, etc. Access to mineral deposits, on the other hand, also meets public interests such as raw materials security (compared with many international access options). The deliberation between these diverse land uses requires adequate consideration of the exclusiveness, reversibility, and consequences on the surrounding. The overall objective of MINATURA 2020 is to develop a concept and methodology (i.e. a harmonised European regulatory/guidance/policy framework) for the definition and subsequent protection of “mineral deposits of public importance” in order to ensure their “best use” in the future. Providing a policy planning framework that comprises the “sustainability principle” for mining is the key driving force behind MINATURA.