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Sustainable Discovery and Supply Lighthouse (EIT RawMaterials)

Aalto EIT Services Javor

Challenge: Europe is highly dependent on raw materials that are predominantly sourced overseas: it is using 23% of the world’s mine production for metals and minerals but only produces 2-3 % itself. Hence, Europe is vulnerable to scarcity and supply shortage and there is a need and political will for increased exploration activity and the development of mining operations and processing capabilities. Furthermore, the positive impact that exploration, mining and processing have on our economy and their critical role in a sustainable circular society have to be clearly communicated, as social opposition to mining remains one of the biggest hurdles to investment and development in the raw materials sector.

Approach: Raw, processed and advanced materials, from primary and secondary sources, are the backbone of the economy, and a radical shift is required from linear to circular thinking. End-of-life products must be considered as a resource for another cycle, while losses and stocks of unused materials must be minimized and valorized along the value chain. In addition, the interactions between materials must be considered to define the best circular solution from a systemic standpoint. Awareness of the benefits of closing material loops must be raised in society. The successful transition to the circular economy at the global scale, depend on the reliable and sustainable supply and management of raw materials.

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