This declaration constitutes a response from the European extractive industry, governmental institutions, geological surveys and academia across Europe. It emphasizes the responsibility in terms of future needs for a common agenda concerning research and higher education related to a sustainable supply of metallic and non-metallic raw materials.
We believe that:
The appendix describes the way forward.
The organisations present at the Conference on sustainable mineral resources within EU: European higher education and research on metallic and mineral raw materials, listed below, agreed on the declaration.
Luleå University of Technology
University of Leoben
University of Oulu
University of Oslo
Geological Survey of Finland
Geological Survey of Norway
Geological Survey of Sweden
Lappland Goldminers AB
Nordic Rock Tech Centre AB
Raw Materials Group
Organizations and Institutes
Inst.of Mechanized Construction and Rock
Northe Sweden European Office
Raw materials are essential for the sustainable functioning of modern societies. The global growth of the population and the growth of the world economy create unprecedented requirements on the supply of minerals. Access to and affordability of mineral raw materials are crucial for the sound functioning of the EU’s economy. Sectors such as construction, chemicals, automotive, aerospace, machinery and equipment sectors which provide a total value added of € 1,300 billion and employment for some 30 million people all depend on access to raw materials.
EU is currently a net importer of many of the minerals needed for the modern and future European society. We believe there is a great potential for much larger share for sustainable supply of raw materials from EU resources, but we need access to land, an improved knowledge base and R&D to improve methods for exploration, extraction and recycling. Such R&D shall be executed in close collaboration between academia and the industry as the European industry through sustained R&D and innovation is technology providers to the world in the field of extractive technologies.
The Raw materials Initiative1 states that “raw materials are essential for the sustainable functioning of modern societies. Access to and affordability of mineral raw materials are crucial for the sound functioning of the EU’s economy … Securing reliable and undistorted access to raw materials is increasingly becoming an important factor for the EU’s competitiveness and, hence, crucial to the success of the Lisbon Partnership for growth and jobs” and “the Commission will promote research projects that focus on the extraction and processing of raw materials in its 7th Framework Programme (FP7). The European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources focuses on innovative exploration technologies to identify deeply located onshore and offshore resources (including deep sea mining), and new extraction technologies to maximise economic and environmental benefits.”
We strongly support the Raw Materials Initiative by the EU, being the right step at the right time. With respect to research, development, innovation the European Technology Platform Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP-SMR)2 has adopted a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that provides a solid platform for necessary actions.
1 THE RAW MATERIALS INITIATIVE — MEETING OUR CRITICAL NEEDS FOR
GROWTH AND JOBS IN EUROPE. COM(2008) 699. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newsroom/cf/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=894&userservice_id=1
2 See www.etpsmr.org for information and downloads
The ETP-SMR has adopted a strategic research agenda (SRA) for the European extractive industry and the involved stakeholders are committed to contribute through a major research effort to make the step change that will be required to secure critical and essential resources for Europe and achieve higher resources efficiency. In order to achieve this, the ETP SMR is seeking support from the European Commission and the Member States through complimentary funding of research as well as active involvement through a related ERANET.
To this end it is recommended that the Framework Programmes FP7 and FP8 clearly identify topics related to this SRA.
The following items are seen as essential in order to implement the RMI research strategy as defined above:
For the FP8, the necessary actions relating to the Raw Minerals Initiative should be clearly identified in the program. The structure of the program should be suitable for the process industry where geology, IT, energy, environment and materials issues are strongly linked. We support increased transparency and simplifications how the framework programs are planned and implemented.
There is strong links between high quality research and development and high quality education. We endorse a clear definition of European minerals programs, a framework for funding Pan-European education, funding of mobility of students and teachers, international networking and integration of European education with other leading schools internationally.