The extractive industry has to deal with various areas where continuous improvements are required:
- the efficient extraction and production which includes the strive to obtain more mineral or metal from the ores and to optimised processes in order to use as little raw materials as possible during the process and to minimise effluents from the processes;
- the reduction of the impact on the environment from the processes and its effluents and the development of optimal and cost-effective methods of rehabilitation for the land after the extractive process;
- the increase of computer assisted process management in order to increase efficiency and to increase safety at the workplaces;
- the transfer of aerospace technology in the exploration and environmental impact assessment phase of the extractive processes;
- the development of new products and product applications for metals and minerals including new designs which allow easy reuse or recycling of the materials;
- the evaluation of processes and management tools of other industrial sectors for the application in the extractive industry and to study the possible transfer of extractive industry developments in other industrial sectors such as construction, tunnelling etc.
European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources
In order to meet tomorrow's sustainable security of supply challenges for mineral resources industry, technology providers and research institutes and academia had created in 2006 the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP SMR). Euromines is one of the founding members of this platform. In 2008 this Technology Platform was officially recognised by the European Commission.
Its Strategic Research Agenda was revised and FP 7 calls for projects were answered by several consortia with a good success rate. The following years will see the signing of research funding contracts for several million Euros.
Research is one of the key elements for further progress in sustainability and competitiveness for the sector and therefore deserves, despite all economic difficulties which arose in the second half of 2008 and continued in 2009, the sector's utmost attention.
Many companies carry out in-house research and nationally funded research with the aim to improve their resources efficiency and the performance of mineral products. This will continue in coming years and will certainly contribute to a better resource management.