The final Conference of the Minerals4EU Project took place on the 25th of August in Brussels, at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. The results of the project were presented to stakeholders, including representatives of the minerals industry, governments and EU Institutions. Almost 100 participants took part in the event.
Sustainability, interoperability and knowledge are the keywords of Minerals4EU. The Minerals4EU products form together a platform of distribution of information on minerals that benefits the whole of Europe now and in the future.
The EU Minerals Knowledge Data Platform allows stakeholders to search, view and acquire standardized geo-resource and related data, freely accessible. The interoperability among countries is guaranteed as the platform is built in the framework of the INSPIRE Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe). For the first time, a European digital Yearbook for Raw Materials is available for consultation online. The Yearbook, which includes 65 commodities from 40 EU and non-EU countries providing a wide range of data never collected before, will be officially presented and launched on the 15th October 2015 in Brussels at the “Raw Materials Diplomacy Dialogue between the EU and the advanced mining countries” event.
David Ovadia, Exploitation Manager of the project, illustrated the structure of the Permanent Body that will allow the sustainability of Minerals4EU. As a legal entity under Belgian law, the permanent body will count on a small bureau of skilled staff co-located at EuroGeoSurveys in Brussels, acting as access point to a broader network of members. The bureau will therefore assist the Network in providing data, expertise, etc. Such a structure will assure that the project results will not be lost, but will survive to serve European policy makers, investors, citizens, scientists and tackle the challenges of the minerals industry.
Furthermore, the data platform and the Yearbook put in place by Minerals4EU will be further improved through time. As highlighted during the event by the scientific staff, this final Conference represents a starting point. The Network is expected to be fully operational by 2017, and meanwhile few political and technical problems will be addressed. For example, the need for semantic and terminological standardization of commodities among countries for improving consistency and comparability, or the need to seek for data that may clash with Member States data protection policy, causing gaps such as the lack of certain data.
The remarkable efforts of the scientific team has made possible the success of this ambitious project, fundamental contribution to the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials. As Dr Slavko Solar, Policy Officer at DG GROW of the European Commission, affirmed in his speech, the collaboration among European Geological Surveys on Raw Materials is essential to respond to the societal challenges identified by Horizon 2020. The EURMKB (European Raw Minerals Knowledge Base) is in line with other EU initiatives and projects, such as the Raw Materials Information System (RMIS) of the EC Joint Research Centre. For these, collaboration and synergies are needed.