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ERA-MIN Research Agenda

Abstract : Non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials underpin the global economy and our quality of life. They are vital for the EU's economy and for the development of environmentally friendly technologies essential to European industries. However, the EU is highly dependent on imports, and securing supplies has therefore become crucial. A sustainable supply of mineral products and metals for European industry requires a more efficient and rational consumption, enhanced substitution and improved recycling. Recycling from scrap to raw materials has been rapidly gaining in quantity and efficiency over the last years. However, continuous re-use cannot provide alone the necessary quantities of mineral raw materials, due to i) recycling losses, ii) the worldwide growing demand in raw materials, and iii) the need of "new" elements for the industry. To fully meet future needs, metals and mineral products from primary sources will still be needed in the future. Most of them will continue to be imported from sources outside Europe; but others can, and should, be produced domestically. Advanced research and innovation are required to improve the capacity of existing technologies to discover new deposits, to improve the efficiency of the entire geomaterials life cycle from mineral extraction to the use as secondary resource of products at the end of their industrial life, and to reduce the environmental footprint of raw materials extraction and use. Research and innovation must be made to acquire knowledge as well, and to improve our basic understanding of all engineering and natural processes involved in the raw materials life cycle, as well as the coupling of these processes. Finally, research has to go beyond the present-day economic and technological constraints, and it should be closely associated with training and education in order to maintain existing skills and to share the most recent developments with the industrial sector. A long-term vision of research is necessary in order to have the capacity of evaluating the environmental and societal impacts of present and developing industrial activities and to imagine tomorrow's breakthrough concepts and technologies that will create new industrial opportunities. These objectives require the input of contrasted scientific and technical skills and competences (earth science, material science and technology, chemistry, physics, engineer, biology, engineering, environmental science, economy, social and human sciences, etc). An important challenge is to gather all these domains of expertise towards the same objective. The ERA-MIN Research Agenda aims at listing the most important topics of research and innovation that will contribute to i) secure the sustainable supply and management of non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials, and ii) offer opportunities of investment and employment opportunities in the EU.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 11:08:56 AM
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Olivier Vidal, Pär Weihed, Christian Hagelüken, Derk Bol, Patrice Christmann, et al.. ERA-MIN Research Agenda. 2013, pp.125. ⟨insu-00917653⟩

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