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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Objectives of the commitment

The most important metal mining districts in the EU are located in the Fennoscandian shield in northern Finland and Sweden, Bergslagen in Sweden, the Variscan Belt of Iberia and the Central European Kupferschiefer mineral belt. These areas and ExplOre partners account over 80% of the total metal production of EU. The established mining in these areas provides an excellent basis for ExplOre with the following objectives:

- improvement of knowledge of mineral systems enriched in critical and high-tech raw materials;
- establishment of deposit-and belt-scale 2-3-4D geomodels and newly identified deposits;
- development of new mineralogical, geochemical and geophysical exploration concepts and mineral prospectivity mapping methods;
- testing of new drilling and real-time data acquisition technologies with reduced environmental footprints and better capacities to predict deep seated ore deposits.

Description of the activities

The economically most important metallogenetic belts of the EU have diverse geology with evident potential for different types of mineral resources. The polymetallic ores in these belts are the most feasible sources of critical, high-tech or other economically important metals in the EU. In addition to the variable geology, the special vulnerability of the environment and the glacial sedimentary cover in the Arctic regions of northern Europe, and the thick weathering crust and more densely populated nature of the target areas in the Iberian and Central European belts influence the practice of mineral exploration in different ways. Therefore the new exploration concepts and technologies introduced by the project should be optimized and tested on diverse ore types and European areas. Implementation of the project is based on three major areas of action:

1. Research
The Establishment of 2D-3D-4D models by applying of the mineral system concept and focused on the occurrences of critical, high-tech and other economically important metals in the following ore types of the Fennoscandian, Iberian and Central European mineral belts: magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE, Kiruna-type Fe-P, granite related W-Sn(Nb-Ta-Li-Au), volcanic-hosted massive sulfide Cu-Zn(Co-In-Tl-Ga-Sn-Ag), sediment hosted Kupferschiefer type Cu(-Ag-PGE) and orogenic Au(Co-Bi-Te). These are the most important ore types in Europe and it is expected that they will be the primary targets of expansion of mining in the EU. The development of geomodels for the selected ore types and mineral belts is supported by the extensive databases available at the cooperating geological surveys and mining companies. These databases will be extended by research on mineral systems and data produced by application of new technologies developed in the framework of the project.

2. Technological development
Extension of our knowledge of mineral belts to depths of 3-4 km requires further development of high resolution, deeply penetrating seismic and electromagnetic exploration methods and improvement of their interpretation and involvement in integrated modeling methods. The development of new geophysical tools for deep exploration includes the use of virtual sources, noise interferometry and muons to map buried structures. Improving and developing new borehole instrumentation is also necessary. These geophysical survey methods will offer new cost-effective and environmentally sensitive exploration tools by reducing the number of deep drill holes needed to reveal ore hosting structures. Integration of the key parameters of mineral systems into 2D-3D geomodels also necessitates the refinement of field methods for the evaluation of mineralogy and geochemistry in drill cores by improving hyperspectral and portable mineral/chemical analytical tools. The combination of key parameters from geomodels, new data gained from new exploration methods and existing geophysical and geological databases opens up opportunities for the enhancement of conceptual and empirical methods of mineral prospectivity mapping and spatial data mining.

3. Testing and validating the results of research and development
Testing and validating the applicability of new geo-models, as well as geophysical exploration and mineral prospectivity mapping methods will be carried out by delineation and test drilling of predicted mineral resources in each mineral belt targeted by the project. These experiments will demonstrate the technological readiness levels of new innovations and form the preparatory background for their commercialization.

Description of the expected impacts

The expected industrial impact of the ExplOre project is to boost mineral exploration by providing new geo-models, prospectivity maps, databases and newly identified deposits for the most important European mineral systems and belts with metallic ores containing critical metals. This is also supported by active collaboration between the largest and most innovative companies that produce most metals in Europe and leading geosciences research institutions. The produced geomodels will support better targeting of new mineral resources at depth, and the new technologies optimized for deep exploration in diverse terrains will enhance the efficiency of exploration by reducing environmental impacts and costs. This expected outcome of the project will also re-shape exploration practices on low-grade and deep-seated mineral resources. The distribution and commercialization of the project´s outcomes among stakeholders of the extractive industry will improve competitiveness of the European exploration and mining. Testing the results of the project in mineral belts with different geological, environmental and societal challenges of exploration will also support the generalization of know-how and technologies and their potential transfer outside of Europe. The reduced environmental impact of the new technologies and methods developed by the project will promote social acceptance of mining and therefore support further development of the extractive industry in the target areas. Another important societal impact is the securing and extending of job opportunities in those areas of the EU that have a long history and further perspectives of metal mining.

Coordinating organisation & role

Name of the coordinating organisation: GEOLOGIAN TUTKIMUSKESKUS - GTK Country: FinlandEntity profile: Governmental/public bodyRole within the commitment:

Project management, dissemination of results.Research on sources,transportation pathways and deposition processes of major and critical metals in orogenic Au and magmatic Cu‐Ni‐Pge mineral systems in northern Finland. Seismic,magnetotelluric data collection,development of geophysical interpretation methods & equipment.Regional and camp scale 2D-3D geo-modeling.Application of geomodels in numerical modeling and mineral prospectivity mapping.

Other partners

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.

Name of the organisation: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Fraunhofer will lead the CFRP and GFRP recycling research.
Fraunhofer will perform corrosion tests on the developed materials.
Fraunhofer will work with CIDAUT on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project. Fraunhofer is the Quality Manager of the Consortium and will oversee deliverables and general reporting are produced with the best possible quality following agreed review standards.

Fundacion Cidaut

Name of the organisation: Fundacion Cidaut Country: Spain Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: CIDAUT will lead the research activities on materials recycling and compounding, implementing lab scale demonstrators of each process at its premises and, later, supporting end-users upscale the processes.
CIDAUT will perform mechanical tests, microstructural analyses, injection moulding capability studies on the developed materails, and will work with Fraunhofer on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project.

RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV)

Name of the organisation: RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV) Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: RWTH will implement the novel 3D Generative Preforming process (3D Fibre Spraying) that enables to create high-value long fibre-reinforced 3D preforms for thermoplastic and thermoset composites at low process costs (different kinds of yarn as a raw material, low tooling costs due to low cavity pressures). This cost effective technology allows to align the sprayed fibres in order to produce high-performance, engineered anisotropic products.

Universita' di Cagliari

Name of the organisation: Universita' di Cagliari Country: Italy Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: University of Cagliari is one of the leading European organization in the resin design and coupling with thermoplastic and thermose materials. University of Cagliari will support in the definition of the composite materials, both from CFRP/GFRP, ABS and Rare Earth composite material.


Name of the organisation: Relight Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: RELIGHT will work with ITRB to provide the research partners with residues for the recycled ABS supply and the REE recovery processes, including their HydroWEEE process as part of the processes to be studied and analyzed.

Piaggio Aerospace

Name of the organisation: Piaggio Aerospace Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: Piaggio Aerospace is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Piaggio will assist in the compounds selection, provide Fraunhofer with specific corrosion requirements on business jet size aircraft, and will assess that the developed materials performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

Blackshape Aircrafts

Name of the organisation: Blackshape Aircrafts Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: Blackshape Aircrafts is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Blackshape will support to fulfill the requirements of the aeronautics industry on ultra light jet, light jet and trainer for Syllabus, and will assess that the developed alloys performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

KU Leuven

Name of the organisation: KU Leuven Country: Belgium Entity profile: Academia
Role within the commitment: KUL will collaborate on the balance problem studies and will lead the rare earth recovery research with the solvometallurgical and ionometallurgical processes.
KUL will also contribute to the final compounding selection.
KUL is the Dissemination Manager of the project, promoting that all partners are active on the project Dissemination.


Name of the organisation: FIDAMC Country: Spain Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: FIDAMC is going to lead the Work Package on Compression Moulding with CFRP-enhanced materials. As part of the AIRBUS Group, FIDAMC will also be able to provide the input material.
FIDAMC successfully developed a 3D Printer of own design to serve the Aerospace Industry and will be supporting Smart Lab 3D Industries in its 3D printer design.


Name of the organisation: COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER Country: Canada Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Composite Innovation Center is one of the world leading organization in the field of Composite materials, both from carbon fiber and vegetal-based fibers.
Composite Innovation center has successfully implemented, at lab-scale, recycling processes for CFRP and GFRP.

Existing EU Contribution: No

Period to implement the commitment: from 01-02-2014 to 31-03-2020