The European Commission has proposed to set up a European Innovation Partnership on raw materials. Pulling together capital and human resources, Member States, companies and researchers will join innovation efforts to support exploration, extraction and processing of raw materials to reduce the import dependency of Europe on raw materials.
A significant role could be played by EuroGeoSurveys, the organisation of the Geological Surveys of Europe, who heads the Secretariat of the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP SMR).
The European Technology Platforms are set to assist the EU in defining medium to long-term research and technological objectives. The ETP SMR unites stakeholders from the minerals and metals industry, geological surveys and the research and academic community.
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Regarding this Commission's proposal Luca Demicheli, the EuroGeoSurveys´ Secretary General, said "Innovation can be the key in maintaining and improving the competitiveness of the EU industry and ensuring an efficient use of resources in the European Union. For example new mining technologies will help to extract deeper, in more remote areas, under harsh conditions and dramatically reducing the environmental impact. The remote controlled operations and automation in underground mines will lead to improved resource efficiency through higher extraction rates (20% and more), a higher selectivity of extraction (10 to 20%) together with a 20% higher deposit utilisation as well as increasing productivity and decreasing production costs by 20%."
In this framework EuroGeoSurveys plays a double role. On one side could provide standardised geological data and identify best practices in defining policies for minerals, land planning and regulation thereof in the Member States. On the other side it will support actions to develop innovative methods, technologies, machines, equipment and skills needed in Europe, as requested by the proposed European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.