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MINATURA 2020 Report Summary

Project ID: 642139
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MINATURA 2020 (Developing a concept for a European minerals deposit framework )

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The extraction of minerals in Europe is an indispensable activity to ensure that the present and future needs of the European society can be met. To attract investments in exploration and extraction of minerals, one essential requisite is the access to land. Demand for land in Europe is high: Europe is one of the most intensively used continents on the globe with several land functions all competing for space: cropland, grassland, biomass and energy production, housing, infrastructure, natural and cultural conservation, water provision, tourism and recreation, and minerals extraction, among others. Since not all these land uses are compatible in the same space simultaneously, decisions about land use involve trade-offs between diverse sectoral interests in land use planning processes. Such process need to think long-term and should make a balanced assessment of land uses taking into account their specific nature; in the case of the minerals, mineral deposits are not ubiquitous and cannot be moved, they need to be developed where they are found. Thus, the lack of adequate planning may ‘sterilize’ (make quite difficult and costly or impede access indefinitely) areas with known mineral deposits or with mineral potential.

Focusing only on non-energy minerals, the MINATURA2020 project aims to protect the access to such areas by developing a concept and a methodology for the definition and protection (via land use planning) of those mineral deposits considered of ‘public importance’ (deposits with high economic importance at local, regional/national or EU level) for their best use in the future. It should be underlined that the extraction of the minerals in such mineral deposits may or may not take place in the near future, e.g. the deposit may not be economically viable to extract now or a new technology fulfilling sustainability requirements may need to be developed in the future. However, MINATURA2020´s vision is that the accessibility to the area hosting them should remain unimpeded, or with minimal impediments, i.e. unnecessary sterilization is to be avoided.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

1. Selection of case studies and three workshops to explore land use competition challenges between mining and other lands uses
Using real data and real case studies, workshops allowed participants to explore land use conflicts between mining and other land uses in the regions where they come from, and also understand differences in other European regions. All visual outcomes (maps, graphs) provided valuable input which shaped the discussion and forms the basis for the development of the harmonised mapping framework for the safeguarding of MDoPI.

2. Discussion and agreement on a working definition of MDoPI
After a long debate and discussion process, a working definition on MDoPI was agreed last January 2016. This definition is the departure point for further discussions in the project. The definition is currently under discussion with multiple stakeholders during the First and Second Round of National Stakeholders consultations. Therefore, even though it might be modified, the core concept is already agreed within the Consortium.

3. Discussions on the qualifying conditions and a harmonized mapping framework
Consortium partners have advanced on discussions of proposals of qualifying conditions, the review of land use planning approaches (good practices in Europe) and different proposed methodologies for the identification of MDoPI and how to safeguard them via land use planning mechanisms. Even though an agreement was not reached Consortium-wide during the reporting period, it is expected to be done soon.

4. Involvement of multiple stakeholders and first commitments for the National Council of Stakeholders
During 2016 the First Round of Stakeholder Consultations started and during the reporting period 11 meetings took place (each one in a different Member State). The audience involved stakeholders representing different sectors which discussed the project´s approach, the working definition of MDoPI and ways for the harmonized mapping framework. During this first round some partners already committed participants for the National Council of Stakeholders (National Councils form the basis of the Council of Stakeholders which is formed by all National Councils).

5. Selection of case studies for the pilot-testing and demonstration of the methodology
Seven case studies have already been selected by the partners for the pilot testing of the methodology (harmonised mapping framework). Lists of potential MDoPI have already been prepared and some partners have already provided digital spatial data to the corresponding WP leader.

6. Dissemination and Publications
During the reporting period, a total of 116 dissemination and communication activities were carried out, including 2 conferences, 2 flyers, 11 articles in journals, 3 newsletters, 8 poster presentations at conferences, 57 presentations addressing scientific community, industry, policy makers, media, civil society, 8 press releases, 2 project brochures, websites and web presentations, 16 workshops and others. The audience which directly was so far informed on the project´s aim and advances is estimated at around 130,000 stakeholders.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

MINATURA2020 is successfully attracting attention and promoting discussion among multiple European stakeholders and levels towards the issue of ‘Mineral Deposits of Public Importance’ and how they could be protected via land use planning. In Europe there exist some known cases of national governments which have awarded a special status to mineral deposits (e.g. Sweden regularly updates its list of Mineral Deposits of National Interest). There are also some good practices on mineral deposits´ access safeguarding via spatial planning (e.g. Austria´s Mineral Resources Plan). MINATURA has been progressing on an agreement of an encompassing, broad and flexible concept and definition of mineral deposit, and also of mineral deposits of public importance (MDoPI) which can be applied at different levels. Likewise, the project, based on the previously mentioned good practices, is advancing towards a harmonised mapping framework that can be applied by all partners, and that is accepted by a wide range of stakeholders via external consultations. Such a bottom-up approach has not been conducted before on an EU-wide scale and represents an innovative and original development of the project.

Expected potential impact

The potential impact of the project during the reporting period lies within the large network of stakeholders that has been mobilised to discuss the project´s interim results (including the working definition of MDoPI) during the First Round of National Stakeholder Consultations and as a result of all dissemination and communication activities. MINATURA2020 has been also connected with other relevant H2020 projects for example MICA, MIN-GUIDE, INTMET, INTRAW including MINLEX; and will be connected as well with SCRREEN, SLIM, MIN-FUTURE, FORAM. This will support the potential impact.

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