The goal of NEXT Horizon 2020 is to develop new geomodels and novel sensitive exploration technologies which are fast, cost-effective, environmentally safe and socially accepted.
Three pillars define the framework of the project: 1. Mineral systems modelling, 2. Exploration methods and 3. Data processing and integration tools. The key components for the project outcome include the following:
- Producing robust conceptual 3D models for target sites in Europe that can be used with collective pathfinders to predict the location and size of ore deposits at depth
- Developing new geophysical EM airborne methods (involving innovative new work with UAVs)
- Improving multi-source surface geochemical exploration techniques to be cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly
- Developments of the integration of multiscale datasets of spectral and multisensory exploration data
- Developing self-organizing map software for mass data sets and applying them for certain deposit types
- Generating practical guidelines and strategies to improve relationships between industry and local communities.
Six EU countries are involved in the project: Finland, France, Germany, Malta, Spain, and Sweden, which represent the main metal producing regions in Europe (the Fennoscandian Shield, Variscan Belt of Iberia, and the Central European Belt). Not only are these areas economically important for today and the future’s demand for critical metals, they also each stand unique in their vulnerability for environmental and local communal impacts, illustrating the criticality of innovative, environmentally sound exploration concepts and of the development of social licensing to explore in order to improve relationships with local actors.
LTU is specifically involved mineral systems modelling for the project, which works to build and define detailed geological and geochemical knowledge of the test sites using a mineral systems regional approach in the Fennoscandian Shield, and to develop guidelines defining pathfinders/vectors to ore. The work package (WP) works to provide geological and infrastructural background of the test sites for the other WPs in the project.