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. However, the EU is confronted with a number of technological challenges along the entire raw materials production value chain of primary and secondary raw materials. There is also a need for clean and sustainable raw materials production solutions to avoid environmental damage.
This specific challenge is identified in the Priority Area 'Technologies for primary and secondary raw materials’ production of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials.Scope:
All proposals should develop sustainable systemic solutions through industrially- and user-driven multidisciplinary consortia covering the relevant value chain of non-energy non-agricultural raw materials.
Assessment of the related environmental and safety risks and a plan to communicate the added value of the proposal to the local communities and society for improving public acceptance and trust should be addressed by all the proposals. Participation of civil society[[See the paragraph on engaging society in the introduction to this Work Programme]] from the start of exploration until after-mining activities in a process of co-design, co-development and co-implementation is strongly encouraged.
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 co-operation is encouraged.
Proposals should develop solutions validated in lab or in industrially relevant environment, finishing at the level of Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 4-5.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 million and EUR 7 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) Sustainable selective low impact mining (2016): Proposals should develop new sustainable selective low impact technological solutions for mining of small mineral deposits (including those with chemically complex ore-forming phases) on the land. The proposals have to clearly show integration of mining solutions with the processing and/or metallurgy steps in order to justify economic viability of the overall process. Proposals should include the participation of technology oriented SMEs, as far as possible.
b) New technologies for the enhanced recovery of by-products (2016): Proposals should evaluate the potential by-products existing in primary or secondary raw materials (usually accompanying the major constituents at low concentrations) and should develop energy-, material- and cost-efficient new mineral processing and/or metallurgical technologies and processes to increase the selectivity and the recovery rates of valuable by-products, particularly Critical Raw Materials. The importance of the targeted sources of by-products for the EU economy has to be duly demonstrated in the proposal.
c) New sensitive exploration technologies (2017): Proposals should develop new and more sensitive environmentally sound exploration technologies and solutions (such as remote sensing technologies, innovative multi-method approaches to reprocess existing or new geophysical data) able to identify targets for detailed exploration on the land with lower costs, leading to finding new deposits and to re-assessing the mineral potential for the EU. Any of the metallic, industrial 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. Proposals should include the participation of technology oriented SMEs, as far as possible. Sea exploration is not targeted by this call.Expected Impact:
Projects are expected to justify and provide evidence that they lead to: