Through research, development and innovation, the Mineral Resources Expert Group informs on policy and strategy addressing the sustainable supply of critical and strategic raw materials.
The Mineral Resources Expert Group (MREG)
We live in a mineral-based world. It has been said that “if you can’t grow it, you have to mine it”. Indeed, virtually everything we use on a daily basis is manufactured from the Earth’s mineral resources.
Mineral raw materials provide us with our basic needs – energy, infrastructure, transportation, technology and more.
The average European, during the 70 years of their lifetime, consumes approximately 460 tons of sand and gravel, 166 tons of oil, 39 tons of steel, 1 ton of copper and several other more or less rare minerals and metals. An increasing demand for raw materials requires more and more effort to recycle and reuse so-called secondary raw materials but also to search and locate new mineral resources in ever more geologically complex, challenging and remote areas and environments. Modern exploitation of these raw materials must ensure minimal impact to the environment in terms of landscape, waste deposition, groundwater pollution and dust.
The EU faces major societal and economic challenges, including access to critical and strategic raw materials from primary and secondary sources as well as the creation of jobs, skills and technological competencies. At the same time, the need for mineral resources continues to rise across the globe, with an increasing demand from developing countries and emerging economies.
To support these challenges, the EU aims to reduce its import dependency on raw materials that are considered critical to Europe’s industries by diversifying supply sources and fostering domestic raw material production, promoting resource efficiency, including recycling, as well as promoting ethical sourcing.
The MREG supports the European Commission’s Strategic Implementation Plan for European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (SIP EIP RM), which highlights the need for an established and up-to-date interoperable EU Geological Knowledge Base, including Minerals Intelligence Information. Such a knowledge base will facilitate European-wide minerals exploration as well as effective policy- and decision-making. Our intention is to integrate innovation and value creation into environmentally sound and resource-efficient exploitation.
The MREG aims to become the leading partner within a European Raw Materials Knowledge Base and Information Network, to provide innovative tools and expertise and support a secure, sustainable minerals supply for Europe.
The MREG Vision is implemented collaboratively with other organisations that have mineral intelligence capacities and expertise and with consumers of information and other potential stakeholders. A number of EU Flagship projects, with EGS and/or National Geological Surveys’ (NGS) participation, in partnership, leading roles or other type of representation, have successfully been carried out, such as AEGOS, SARMa, ProMine, EuroGeoSource, EO-MINERS, Polinares, ERA-MIN, EURare, SNAP SEE, COBALT, Minerals4EU, SCRREEN and SCRREEN 2, ProSUM, EuroLithos, FRAME, MINDeSEA, and Mintell4EU. The accumulated mineral resources data from these many projects, and from the databases of the Geological Surveys of Europe, are also delivered with open access through EGDI.