Union means strength. The European Union is an example of this and so are all the different EU-funded projects collaborating as one to secure the extraction, innovation, processing, and production of critical sustainable raw materials in our continent.

Eight different innovative projects funded by the European Union are working together to explore how to ensure a resilient stable supply of high-quality critical raw materials (CRMs) with a focus on sustainability and the goal of helping Europe to be as self-reliant as possible in this area. Some of these projects are ongoing: DIGIECOQUARRY (led by ANEFA, the Spanish Aggregate Producers Association that also leads another European Commission-funded project related to mining, ROTATE), INSPIREE, NEW-RE, PASSENGER, REEPRODUCE, REESILIENCE, RESILEX,SALEMA, and some others have already presented all their solutions and have accomplished all their goals: SecREETs and SUSMAGPRO.

All these projects financed by the European Commission are decisive in achieving the objectives set by the European Union’s Critical Raw Materials Act. This bill aims to increase strategic autonomy by encouraging domestic production. Whether it’s substituting CRMs with alternative materials, implementing innovative mining systems, or improving the recycling of secondary and end-of-life products, these projects share a common mission: “Making the EU sustainable and self-reliant in the supply of critical raw materials for the green and digital transition”.

Cooperate to succeed!

The importance of collaboration and synergies became evident during a meeting in late 2023, where each project brought unique approaches to the table for securing a resilient supply of critical raw materials. Following an internal survey that unveiled numerous collaboration opportunities, representatives of the eight projects gathered again in February 2024, to discuss concrete joint actions on cross-cutting issues, challenges, and opportunities, aiming to maximize the impact of their efforts.

During the meeting, several main activities of shared interest were identified, including – but not limited to – participating in or organizing joint events, developing joint communication and dissemination activities, and crafting policy briefings. The next steps involve the elaboration of a first common clustering activities plan, with PASSENGER initiating efforts to support networking between projects.

The importance of creating a collaborative ecosystem where EU-funded projects can work together cannot be stressed enough. By combining resources, knowledge, and expertise, these projects can collectively contribute to the overarching goal of making the EU sustainable and self-reliant in critical raw materials.  The diverse strategies and perspectives on applications, spanning materials, technologies, products, and markets, further enhance the value derived from the clustering of these projects.

The cluster is open to all EU-funded projects dealing with raw materials, exploration, and Earth observation in support of sustainable mining, recycling, and substitution of CRMs. If you are part of such a project and are interested in joining our cluster, please send an email to: us atmedia@esf.org or fill in this introductory form.