Category 18 April 2019

European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP SMR)

In order to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in the mineral industries, the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP SMR) aims at modernising and reshaping this fundamental pillar of the European economy.  By providing a frame for combining activities and networking, the platform facilitates support to business in order to meet sustainability criteria more efficiently.  

The challenge

In today's global society mineral resource production will increasingly be limited by environmental and social sustainability constraints. Since mineral deposits are finite, introducing resource monitoring, as well as the sustainable use and recycling of minerals, will be essential to ensure future economy and wealth.[1] Even if Europe is a major producer of industrial minerals, the final score implies that it is also a net importer of them. To maintain the competitiveness of Europe’s economy as well as the well-being of its inhabitants, a joint effort is required. Providing support, creating networks and partnerships as well as skills sharing by technical centres & experts are some of the challenges linked to this huge task.


The network

Following the establishment of a European Minerals Research Council the extractive industry and related technology providers decided to set up a platform to address the future technological and societal challenges.[2] Consequently, ETP SMR was established in 2005 and officially recognised in September 2008 uniting many stakeholders from mining industry in Europe, like industry, SMEs, technical centres & experts, market players, professional associations, as well as universities in order to jointly act towards a common vision.[3] The partners carry out content-oriented projects, including dissemination of information or strategic planning.[4] Ad-hoc working groups gather to reflect upon specific challenges.[5]


The benefits

Joining the ETP SMR means supporting its main objective: to modernise and reshape the European extracting and processing mineral sector in order to stay competitive in a sustainable way. The download area of the platform provides documents and background information on various topics connected to the mining industry.[6] A list of links to thematically adjacent networks, platforms and associations complete the offer.[7] The sector seeks to act in close co-operation with customers to maintain its competitiveness. Providing support is also performed by enhancing the cooperation activities between distant members. ETP SMR projects aim at the substitution or creation of new mineral and material product functionality for Europe’s future.[8]


Further deployment

The concept of the ETP SMR is ready for full scale implementation, qualifying for an estimated level 5 on the generic maturity scale GML.[9] Based in Belgium, the platform is open for new members active in sustainable mineral resource handling, such as raw materials and aggregates, as well as technology suppliers and engineering companies.[10] The activities are financed in the frame of the European framework programmes and supported by industry and other organisations through the European Mineral Resources RTD Council (mixed grant funding and equity funding). They also include recommendations to policy makers and are actively supported by stakeholders organised in the focus areas.[11] The joint effort of the platform, together with the monitoring of resources and a future sustainable supply of raw materials, will enable the project vision to become a reality.[12]