While the courses will initially be provided by the project partners, the mid-term plan is to guide and instruct non-profit multiplier institutions in selected EU member states in offering the course suite.
The teaching concepts will involve face-to-face learning as well as e-learning methods.
The suggested course topic areas shall comprise different segments of the production chain or the mine life cycle, respectively: (i) mine project development, (ii) mining, minerals and metallurgical processing (incl. metal recycling) and (iii) environmental issues of mining and metallurgy.
The course topics will be:
- The economic importance of mineral raw materials for Europe
- Mineral exploration and mining project development
- Mining and mineral production
- Metallurgical production and metal recycling, life cycle of metals
- Environmental issues of mining
Needs and Impact
There is a significant need to improve expertise on raw materials in order to facilitate discussion between different stakeholder groups and to improve awareness of raw material related issues within the European civil society.
The challenge in designing such short courses is that the scope has to be broad enough in order to give an insight into the areas of exploration, extraction, ore dressing, metal refining etc. The level of detail in describing these steps, on the other hand, needs to be limited in order to meet the level of aspiration defined by the target audience. For example lectures should not overwhelm the listeners but instead be given in a popular science way, in order to meet the needs of the non-technical target audience.
The project addresses the societal challenges related to mineral raw materials extraction and processing within the European Union. A more balanced understanding of mining and metals production, as well as the economic and societal relevance of raw materials is of key importance for the wider society perspective of the KIC Raw Materials.
Societal stakeholders such as local governments, associations, institutes and NGOs involved in the non-technical side of raw materials have a need to find unbiased and objective information on technical aspects of their production, e.g. including benefits and limitations of various processing options, as well as an overview on today’s innovative and high-tech production technology.
As the project aims at reaching non-technical audiences from various stakeholders in society through collaboration with multiplier institutions such as geological surveys or branch organisations, a good gender balance both amongst course participants and multiplier institutions can most likely be achieved. Besides forming of the multiplier network, the establishment of the course offer is expected to contribute to the output KPI (# of participants, Wider society learning) of 200 participants per year after the initial implementation.
Background of the project
Experiences from an earlier FP7 coordination and support action reveal that there is an emerging need to improve expertise on the layman side and that there is a demand for this type of layman short courses (Sand and Rosenkranz, 2014: Education Related to Mineral Raw Materials in the European Union – Development of Draft Syllabi for University Education and Blueprints for Industry Training and Courses for Geological Surveys,COBALT Report D3.2, www.cobalt-fp7.eu). The discussion of technical aspects of raw material production among non-experts or between specialists and non-experts is typically hampered by the differences in information level and terminology. This frequently results in misled interpretations of the environmental risks from mining and processing or in unrealistic expectations about what is technically feasible in primary production or metal recycling. This situation can be overcome by adequately educating laypersons not having the necessary technical background, i.e. policy makers, government employees, representatives from consumer organisations, members of non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders from civil society, in order to fill the knowledge gaps in production technology and by conveying general awareness of existing technical constraints with regard to both raw material and process technology. Interdependencies occurring between individual processing steps make it usually necessary to take a more holistic view on the entire value chain of minerals and metallurgical production, in order to give layman persons a better insight into technical alternative sand their constraints.
About the initiator
EIT Raw Materials
EIT Raw Materials, initiated by the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) and funded by the European Commission, is the largest and strongest consortium in the raw materials sector worldwide. Its vision is a European Union where raw materials area strategic strength. Its mission is to boost competitiveness, growth and attractiveness of the European raw materials sector via radical innovation and guided entrepreneurship.
EIT Raw Materials unites more than 100 partners – academicand research institutions as well as businesses – from more than 20 EU countries. They collaborate on finding new, innovative solutions to secure the supplies and improve the rawmaterials sector all along its value chain – from extraction to processing, from recycling to reuse.
There are six regional hubs in Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Poland and Sweden, called Co-location centers that represent different regional ecosystems bridging between business, research and education.
EIT RawMaterials aims to significantly enhance innovation in the raw materials sector by sharing of knowledge, information and expertise: Entrepreneurs, Start-ups and SMEs receive funding and support through our partner network and collaboration activities.
EIT RawMaterials will generate a significant impact on European competitiveness and employment by driving and fostering innovation and empowering students, entrepreneurs and education partners driving toward the circular economy. This will result in the introduction of innovative and sustainable products, processes and services, as well as talented people that will deliver increased economic, environmental and social sustainability to European society.
Read more at www.eitrawmaterials.eu At the final stage of the project, the partners will provide mentoring support to the multiplier organisations in order to ensure the continued conduct of the courses after the completion of the project.