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CORDIS - EU research results

CrItical RAw materials extraction in enviroNmentally protected areas

Project description

The race for critical raw materials

Critical raw materials (CRMs) are vital for our modern-day economy. Without minerals such as lithium, cobalt and copper, there would be limited advances in digitalisation and renewable energy technologies. In this context, the EU-funded CIRAN project will develop processes to balance society's desire to protect environmentally sensitive areas and society's growing need for CRMs by domestic sourcing from within the EU. Specifically, the project will explore permitting procedures based on modern policies and novel social contract frameworks. CIRAN will bring together external expert stakeholders and will advance a community of practice. The experts will assist in analysing policies, economic drivers, technologies, mining, local governance, social capital, nature conservation and biodiversity protection needs.


CIRAN will develop, test and validate processes to arrive at systemic policy-making, balancing environmental protection and societal needs for accessing critical raw materials (CRMs). This will be achieved through: 1) streamlined permitting procedures in environmentally protected areas; 2) modern policies and social contract frameworks that reconcile the protection of environmentally sensitive areas and domestic sourcing of CRMs in the EU; and 3) the development of a community of practice to support the uptake of the CIRAN recommendation and that will remain active after the project funding period.
CIRAN proposes a logical framework that justifies extraction on the basis of a system-oriented assessment and the co-creation of knowledge (i.e. tested and validated by communities located in or nearby environmentally protected areas). It will create novel social contract models identifying rights, obligations and responsibilities of governments (national/regional), communities and mine operators, capable of dealing with transformations and challenges due to climate change.
As a distinctive feature, CIRAN brings together 25 external experts on the environmental, political, social, economic, and technological factors that will shape the energy transition responses and the demand for CRMs. These experts, organised in four Expert Groups (EGs), will work with the Consortium, conveying insights on policy-making and -implementation, economic drivers, technologies, mining, local governance, social capital, nature conservation and biodiversity. The EGs will actively engage in CIRAN through synergetic processes combining analysis and deliberation, and participation in project workshops and structured consultations (e.g. focus groups, foresight analysis).
The Consortium is geared to develop inclusive policy-making instruments that support the EU Green Deal and UN-led reforms to reach the climate commitments and sustainable development goals.


Net EU contribution
€ 563 625,00
1000 Bruxelles / Brussel

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Total cost
€ 563 625,00

Participants (11)

Partners (1)