Knowledge on raw materials is dispersed and variable, and the complexity of material cycles (across all life cycle stages), policies, mineral market trends, technological trends, environmental issues, social impacts etc. requires many fields of expertise. Therefore, combining data and information to support decisions is ambitious, and this is demonstrated in the Strategic Implementation Plan of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (EIP-RM).
The Strategic Implementation Plan of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (EIP-RM) aims to ensure the sustainable supply of raw materials for the European economy whilst increasing benefits for society as a whole. This is done by promoting innovation across the entire materials value chain, i.e. by supporting technologies, improving the framework policy conditions for raw materials, and also by promoting international cooperation. Several projects related to mineral raw materials have been funded as a result of this increased awareness, notably ProMine, EuroGeoSource, EURare, Minventory, Minerals4EU, ProSUM, I2Mine, MINATURA2020, and most recently the Knowledge and Innovation Community, EIT KIC Raw Materials.
These initiatives aim to align the increasing requirements for environmental and social best practices in the mining industry on one hand, and with the rising demand for mineral raw materials on the other. As a consequence there is an urgent need to satisfy the information and intelligence requirements of a large range of stakeholders in order to provide the best possible basis for decision-making. This issue is at the heart of the MICA project.
The anticipated rise in global population and living standards in developing countries is expected to drive continuously increasing levels of demand for a wide range of resources. Furthermore, requirements for a broad range of minor metals and minerals are increasing with modern technology, especially with the development of low carbon technologies such as electric cars, catalytic converters and photovoltaics. Industry forecasts for a number of raw materials suggest that there could be medium to long-term supply shortages in certain areas, including but not exclusively for critical raw materials such as rare earths. Clearly, the outlook for base metals indicates a significant need for identifying additional mineral resources in the medium and long-term in order to satisfy the expected increase in global demand. As a consequence there is an urgent need to satisfy the information and intelligence requirements of a large range of stakeholders in order to provide the best possible basis for decision-making.
Supply and demand of minerals are strongly interrelated with economics, technology, innovation, research and development, and with the changing political landscape at global, European and national levels. Furthermore, there are interconnections with several other policy areas (energy, resource-efficiency, customer behavior, etc.), which makes the development of policy options for long-term „adequate access to raw materials” a difficult task.