Promine is a four years long EC project in the area of exploration and efficient use of mineral resources within Europe. The main objective of ProMine is to develop innovative concepts and processes for strategic mineral supply and for new high added value mineral-based products. Its consortium covers the entire supply chain from extraction and raw materials manufacturing to mineral products manufacturing and by-product materials utilization. ProMine focuses on two parts of the production chain by targeting extractive and end-user industries.
Upstream, the first ever Pan-EU GIS based mineral resource and advanced modeling system for the extractive industry will be created, showing known and predicted, metallic and non-metallic mineral occurrences across the EU. Detailed 4D computer models will be produced for four metalliferous regions. Upstream work will also include demonstrating the reliability of new (Bio) technologies for an eco-efficient production of strategic metals, driven by the creation of on-site added value and the identification of specific needs of potential end-users.
Downstream, a new strategy will be developed for the European extractive industry which looks not only at increasing production but also at delivering high value, tailored nano-products which will form the new raw materials for the manufacturing industry.
ProMine research focuses on metal products partly in nano-scale: these products will have a major impact on the economic viability of the extractive industry. They will be tested at bench scale, and a number selected for development to pilot scale where larger samples can be provided for characterization and testing by end-user industries.
Central to the themes of ProMine, and in accordance with the cradle to cradle approach, is the holistic concept that all solid and liquid materials at an exploitation site are potential useful resources, even those traditionally considered as waste. This means that the way a site is exploited becomes environmentally more sustainable, new uses and products can be found for minerals leading to increased profitability, and the dissolved metal emissions and final waste burden will be reduced.
Targets and Aims
EU is currently heavily dependent on mineral and metal imports and the trade balance in the field is negative. For some strategic metals, EU is totally dependent on import. The efficiency of the overall production chain of minerals and metals in Europe should be enhanced by putting higher quality and added value products on the market. The philosophy behind ProMine is to stimulate the extractive industry to deliver new products to manufacturing industry. The project involves industry key players covering the entire supply chain.
The ProMine consortium, led by Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), includes 27 partners from 11 EU member states. Industry partners in the ProMine consortium produce more than 70% of metals in the EU, so implementation of results from the project will translate into direct and significant economic benefits.
The project has been awarded as the very best of all the projects launched under the EU Framework Programmes in the field of Industrial Technologies. The awards ceremony took place at the Industrial Technologies 2014 conference in Athens on 10 April. More information at http://en.gtk.fi/news/media/news_archive/index.html