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Vectors to Accessible Critical Raw Material Resources in Sedimentary Basins

Project description

Pathways towards responsible and sustainable mineral exploration in the EU

Achieving the EU's Green Deal targets will require more responsible use of, and a sharp increase in, the supply of critical raw materials. The EU is currently reliant on imports and is therefore vulnerable to changes in the geopolitical landscape and supply chain interruptions. Complex social, environmental and technical challenges need to be understood to explore the potential of domestic sourcing of metals and minerals. The EU-funded VECTOR project seeks to explore these challenges by bringing geosciences and social sciences together. VECTOR aims at developing human-centred solutions for a socially acceptable, responsible and sustainable supply of critical raw materials in Europe and thus contribute to achieve the Green Deal.


The EU imports 80% of its industrial raw materials making European supply chains highly vulnerable to disruption and threatening the EU's ability to manufacture raw material-intensive technologies, such as electric cars, wind turbines, and ICT hardware, that are essential to the green and digital transformations. Europe possesses significant mineral potential but development is limited by the lack of sustainable, low-impact exploration methods and by social opposition to mineral projects. With VECTOR we will generate new knowledge to overcome these technical and social barriers, unlocking Europe's raw material potential and improving the resilience of EU raw materials supply chains. Overcoming issues will require major changes of the business models in the extractives industry and to integrate a more human-centred approach. The VECTOR project is based on the premise that a prerequisite to any sustainable human activity is to minimize the environmental and social costs and include all the stakeholders in the decision making processes around this.
VECTOR's overall objective is to deliver evidence-based and accessible knowledge that integrates the scientific and social pathways to successful mineral exploration and mining.
The first pillar of our approach is a geological prospectivity toolkit based on an entirely new workflow using machine learning-based integration of less invasive geological, geochemical and geophysical measurements. The workflow will be validated in three European sedimentary basins and will be transferable worldwide.
The second pillar is a social acceptance procedure that identifies, for the first time, the values that the European public invokes when deciding about mineral development. This will result in a Social Acceptance index and a new body of knowledge that reflects diverse values-based perspectives.
The third pillar is an integrated toolkit consisting of a unique, distributed, multimodal, self-learning, and interactive platform that will consider both geological exploration potential and socio-economic factors to yield a data-driven, quantitative and integrative assessment of regions more suitable for exploration and, eventually, mining. The results will be freely available via an engaging, web-based interface designed to support evidence-based decision making and the UNFC and UNRMS.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 599 347,12
01328 Dresden

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Sachsen Dresden Dresden, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 599 347,12

Participants (11)

Partners (6)