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 martket. This will be addressed by the four year long project ProMine starting on May 2009.
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.
All potential metallic and non-metallic mineral resources (known and predicted) within the EU will be well documented in the first ever pan-European GIS based resources and modelling system. This will provide the source of raw materials for the manufacturing industries in the coming decennia. Detailed 4D computer models will be produced for four metalliferous regions in Europe.
Five products will be developed from fundamental research to bench scale, and after evaluation and passing a go/no go point, selected products will go to full demonstration.
The products to be delivered are:
1) rhenium nano-powders for super alloys in aircraft and aerospace industry,
2) nano-silica for construction and catalyst industries,
3) nano-powders for coating paper,
4) nano iron oxyhydroxysulphate for ceramics and
5) metal fibres for energy applications.
Developing modern eco-efficient mineral processing and metal recovery methods and demonstrating the reliability of new (bio)technologies for an ecoefficient production of strategic metals are also included. In addition, life cycle cost analysis and environmental sustainability of the new materials will be performed.
Main objectives of the project:
To develop the first pan-European GIS-based database containing the known and predicted metalliferous and non-metalliferous resources, which together define the strategic reserves (including secondary resources) of the EU.
To calculate the volumes of potentially strategic metals (e.g. cobalt, niobium, vanadium, antimony, platinum group elements and REE) and minerals that are currently not extracted in Europe.
To develop five new, high value, mineral-based (nano) products.
To enlarge the number of profitable potential targets in Europe.
To establish a new, cross-platform information group between the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP-SMR) and other platforms.
Project Website: http://promine.gtk.fi/