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New geomodels to explore deeper for High-Technology critical raw materials in Alkaline rocks and Carbonatites

New geomodels to explore deeper for High-Technology critical raw materials in Alkaline rocks and Carbonatites

Objective

Five of the 20 raw materials identified by the European Commission as critical are commonly found in association with alkaline rocks and carbonatites (heavy and light rare earth elements, niobium, fluorspar, and phosphate). Other elements increasingly important for ‘hi-tech’ applications, and found in these rocks include hafnium (Hf), tantalum (Ta), scandium (Sc) and zirconium (Zr). In fact, there is a greater chance of a carbonatite complex having resources economic to mine than any other rock type (about 20 active mines in ca. 500 known carbonatite complexes).

Less than 3% of critical raw materials supply is indigenous to the EU. However, deposits are known and exploration is ongoing in parts of northern Europe. In central and southern Europe the presence of abundant alkaline volcanic rocks indicates the likelihood that deposits exist within about a km of the surface.
This project will make a step-change in exploration models for alkaline and carbonatite provinces, using mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry, and state-of-the-art interpretation of high resolution geophysics and downhole measurement tools, to make robust predictions about mineral prospectivity at depth. This will be achieved through studies at seven key natural laboratories, combined with Expert Council workshops. The results will be incorporated into new geomodels on multiple scales.

In contrast to known deposits, Europe is well endowed with expertise. The project brings together industry partners involved in exploration, geophysics and environmental assessment with two geological surveys, a major museum and five universities. The results will make Europe the world leader in this specialist area. They will give the four SME industry partners world-leading expertise to develop and expand their businesses, transferring their business expertise from Africa to Europe. The project will help give European ‘hi-tech’ industry the confidence to innovate in manufacturing using critical raw materials.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

Address

The Queen'S Drive Northcote House
Ex4 4qj Exeter

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 540 425,51

Participants (12)

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GEO-AFRICA PROSPECTING SERVICES CC

Namibia

EU Contribution

€ 237 010

UNITED KINGDOM RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 386 237,50

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL

United Kingdom

TERRATEC GEOPHYSICAL SERVICES GMBH & CO KG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 808 200

EBERHARD KARLS UNIVERSITAET TUEBINGEN

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 497 068,75

MENDELOVA UNIVERZITA V BRNE

Czechia

EU Contribution

€ 336 625

THE UNIVERSITY COURT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 410 986,25

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI GABRIELE D'ANNUNZIO DI CHIETI-PESCARA

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 295 312,50

LANCASTER EXPLORATION LIMITED

British Virgin Islands

EU Contribution

€ 168 553,24

Natural History Museum

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 138 625

A. SPEISER-ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS CC

Namibia

EU Contribution

€ 106 902,25

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland

Denmark

EU Contribution

€ 469 350

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 689909

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 February 2016

  • End date

    31 January 2020

Funded under:

H2020-EU.3.5.3.

  • Overall budget:

    € 5 395 296

  • EU contribution

    € 5 395 296

Coordinated by:

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

United Kingdom