Mineral Resources in 2021
The EU recognized the importance of raw material supply already in the early years of the new millennium with the publication of the Raw Materials Initiative (2008). Slovenia has been a part of this effort from the very beginning, and its involvement in the process has been increasing ever since.
The Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure (MZI), together with the Geological Survey of Slovenia (GeoZS), has been consistently active in the Raw Materials Supply Group (RMSG) representing the position of the Republic of Slovenia with respect to the securing of reliable, unhindered access to raw materials for EU Member States. The work of the RMSG follows the Raw Materials Initiative to ensure:
- a fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from global markets,
- the sustainable supply of raw materials within the EU and,
- the efficient use of resources and the supply of secondary raw materials through recycling.
Over the years, many concrete activities and programs have emerged from the Initiative (including the Framework Programme Horizon2020), many of which are presented through the results published in this and previous Mineral Bulletins.
One of the latest and most important achievements of the Initiative is the Critical Raw Materials Action Plan adopted by the European Commission (September 2020). The Action Plan consists of ten concrete actions designed to tackle various vulnerability issues in raw materials supply chains. The Action Plan advocates specific EU engagement in strategic partnerships with resource-rich non-EU countries by enabling EU external policy instruments and delivering on its international obligations. The Strategic Partnership on Raw Materials, for instance, between the European Union and Canada was established and endorsed on the political level in June, and with Ukraine in July of 2021.
Throughout the 75 years of its existence, the thriving international collaboration of GeoZS in the area of mineral resources / raw materials has been growing continuously, not only within the EU institutions involved but also as a proactive member of the EuroGeoSurveys and other international associations. Associations like the International Raw Materials Observatory, which was created as a follow up to INTRAW, a successful project that initiated support for global cooperation related to all aspects of mineral raw materials (research, innovation, education, industry, trade, and recycling).
In 2020, GeoZS joined the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA), a network established under the umbrella of KIC EIT Raw Materials that aims to secure access to critical and strategic raw materials, advanced materials, and the processing of knowhow for EU Industrial Ecosystems. The Alliance brings together a host of relevant stakeholders: industrial actors throughout the entire value chain, Member States and regions, trade unions, civil society, research and technology organizations, investors, and NGOs.
Slovenia’s involvement in joint European efforts extends further still. Next to MZI and GeoZS, other Slovenian partners and stakeholders have been making greater contributions to joint European activities related to raw materials. Many important and tangible results have come out of the various collaborative efforts of the recent past.
It is a pleasure to report that in recent years the activities of KIC EIT Raw Materials has fostered productive collaborations among relevant raw materials related organizations in the East and Southeastern Europe regions. KIC EIT Raw Materials really represents an added value component in this region, for just as elsewhere in Europe it well illustrates the common notion that investment in knowledge always pays off.
One such example is the EIT RM project RESEERVE, one of most influential projects related to mineral resource management in East and Southeastern Europe. The project established registers for primary and secondary mineral resources in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Albania, which inventories are linked with relevant European data platforms. Such development established a firm foundation for the integration of the region into the pan-European Minerals Intelligence instrument. The incorporation of available INSPIRE compliant information secures the constant flow of mineral resource information for all interested stakeholders, including European industry, which is better able to expand its business and/or investments in the East and Southeastern Europe / West Balkan region. Equally important is the fact that the mineral resource sector of the region has become stronger through multilateral knowledge transfer, joint undertakings, and shared results and achievements.
Ljubljana, September 2021
dr. Miloš Bavec
Geological Survey of Slovenia