The EU is highly dependent on raw materials that are crucial for a strong European industrial base, an essential building block of the EU's growth and competitiveness. Securing the sustainable access to raw materials, including metals, industrial minerals and construction raw materials, and particularly Critical Raw Materials (CRM), for the EU economy is of high importance.
The challenge for industry is to scale-up promising raw materials production technologies and to demonstrate that raw materials can be produced in an innovative and sustainable way in order to make sure that research and innovation end-up on the market, to strengthen the competitiveness of the European raw materials industries, to meet ambitious energy and climate 2030 targets and to gain the trust of the EU citizens to raw materials sector.
This specific challenge is addressing development of the "innovative pilot actions"[[https://ec.europa.eu/eip/raw-materials/en/content/strategic-implementation-plan-sip-0#Targets]] which is one of the major targets of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials.
The main objective is to develop innovative pilots demonstrating clean and sustainable production of non-energy non-agricultural raw materials in the EU from primary and/or secondary sources.
All proposals should cover all the following points:
Wherever possible, proposers could actively seek synergies, including possibilities for funding, with relevant national/regional research and innovation programmes.
Within the projects funded, additional or follow-up funding should be sought, be it private or public, including from relevant regional/national schemes under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), in particular under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), or other relevant funds such as the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II). To achieve this, projects could seek contact with ERDF/IPA managing authorities and with the authorities who developed the Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3). The responsible regional/national authorities could then take an interest in the projects and their expected results. They could engage in the use and deployment of the novel solutions resulting from projects e.g. through pre-commercial public procurement or public procurement for innovative solutions. The project proposals could already indicate which interested regions/countries or other partners have been pre-identified for contact during the project. Please note, however, that reference to such additional or follow-up funding will not lead automatically to a higher score in the evaluation of the proposal.
Projects should include a work-package to cluster with other projects financed under this topic and – if possible – with other relevant projects in the field funded by Horizon 2020, in support of the EIP on Raw Materials
In line with the EU's strategy for international co-operation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497) international cooperation is encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 8 million and EUR 13 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Proposals shall address only one of the following issues:
a) Intelligent mining on land (2016): Proposals should develop and demonstrate new intelligent mining systems to avoid exposure of workers in dangerous operations, to increase efficiency and profitability, and to minimise environmental impacts of the mining operations. Any of the metallic, industrials and/or construction minerals could be targeted. The importance of the targeted raw materials for the EU economy has to be duly demonstrated in the proposal.
b) Processing of lower grade and/or complex primary and/or secondary raw materials in the most sustainable ways (2017): Proposals should demonstrate new systems integrating relevant processing and refining technologies for better recovery of minerals and metals from low grade and/or complex ores, industrial or mining wastes at increased efficiency in terms of better yield and process selectivity. The importance of the targeted raw materials and their sources for the EU has to be demonstrated in the proposal. The solution proposed should be flexible enough to adapt to different ore grades and should be supported by efficient and robust process control.
c) Sustainable metallurgical processes (2017): Proposals should develop innovative metallurgical systems integrating pyro-, hydro-, bio-, and/or electro-metallurgical and/or electrochemical technologies, in order to enhance the production efficiency, metal recovery and selectivity from primary and/or secondary raw materials.
Projects are expected to justify and provide evidence that they: