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New Exploration Technologies

Project description

Safe and socially accepted mineral exploration

The rapid deployment of clean energy technologies has resulted in a significant increase in the demand for critical raw materials, including cobalt, lithium, and others. A reliable supply of these materials is crucial to ensure resilient economies. However, mineral exploration in Europe faces various challenges, such as diverse geology, environmental threats, and ice cover in the Arctic region of northern Europe. Additionally, public acceptance is low. The EU-funded NEXT project brings together 16 partners from six European countries, which represent the metal production industry. Their objective is to create safe, and socially accepted geo-models, exploration technologies, and data analysis methods. By doing so, they seek to pave the way for Europe’s cutting-edge extractive industry.


NEXT proposal has been compiled by a pan-European consortium, which consists of 16 partners from leading research institutes (3), academia (3), service providers (5) and industry (5). The members come from 6 EU member states (Fi, FR, DE, MT, ES and SE) and represent the main metal producing regions of Europe, Fennoscncian Shield, Iberian Pyrite Belt and Central European Belt. These economically most important metallogenic belts of the EU have diverse geology with evident potential for different types of new mineral resource. The mineral deposits in these belts are the most feasible sources of critical, high-tech and other economically important metals in the EU. The project consortium has also a vast international collaboration network, e.g. 50% of the Advisory Board members have been invited from outside EU.

In addition to the variable geology, the 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 mineral exploration in different ways. The social conditions in potential benefits and challenges also vary. Therefore the new environmentally sound exploration concepts and technologies will be optimized and tested on diverse mineral deposit types.

NEXT will develop new geomodels, novel sensitive exploration technologies and data analysis methods which together are fast, cost-effective, environmentally safe and socially accepted. Methods developed reduce the current high exploration costs and enhance participation of civil society from the start of exploration, raising awareness and trust. Moreover, the reduced environmental impact of the new technologies and better knowledge about the factors influencing social licensing will help promote social acceptance of both exploration and mining and therefore support the further development of Europe´s extractive industry.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 1 419 810,00
02151 Espoo

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Manner-Suomi Helsinki-Uusimaa Helsinki-Uusimaa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 419 810,00

Participants (16)