EIT International Summer School "From Dredging to Deep-Sea Mining"

19-23/09/2022

Striving for independence from the import of Critical Raw Materials, the EU has been making considerable investments towards reaching marine mineral resources. Recent EU projects such as Blue Mining, Blue Nodules, MIDAS, VAMOS, as well as numerous national and international programmes on exploration and exploitation of seabed minerals enabled making considerable progress towards the establishment of European deep-sea mining industry, which has a potential of creating a hundreds-billion market and thousands of new jobs. The current knowledge about deep-sea mining and particularly about the impact of mining activities on the marine environment is quite diversified and often contradictory. This is not conducive to the acceptance of seabed mining by society due to the absence of a clear and holistic picture of seabed mining and its possible environmental footprint. The DSM-School project is aiming to become a platform for the elaboration and dissemination of knowledge in deep-sea mining to increase awareness of wider society on marine mineral resources, state-of-the-art mining technologies, recent investigations on the environmental impact of seabed mining activities, as well as economic, political, social and legislative aspects. The project brings together leading universities, research organizations, and industry professionals to reach the wider society by using different communication tools such as a two-week summer school organized in Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, the Internet, and public events. The DSM-School project assumes to be turned into a long-term, self-sustainable and Europe-wide initiative for the dissemination of knowledge and boosting research and innovations.   https://www.ntnu.edu/igp/dsm-summer-school  

April 2022 – Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger at RIC Leoben

On 20 April 2022, Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger visited the research facilities of the Montanuniversität Leoben that are working on pyrolysis for the production of hydrogen. These activities are located in the “Resources Innovation Center” (RIC Leoben), to which Minister Köstinger promised funding of three million Euros, divided between the years 2022 – 2028. The focal points of the funding agreement are activities on the following areas:

  • Digitalisation of extraction; preparation and processing processes as well as supply chains for raw materials – Digital innovation in technology and administration;
  • Innovative raw materials for digitalisation and substitution of critical raw materials
  • High-purity elemental carbon as a carrier material for digital applications.

The Resources Innovation Center Leoben will work on research topics (dissertations) on these themes, involving research funding from Austrian, European and global funding programmes (FFG, Horizon Europe, EIT RawMaterials). “Crisis security requires raw materials. Not all raw materials are infinitely available everywhere, which is why the Resources Innovation Center (RIC) at the Montanuniversität Leoben is an important institution that we are supporting in its work with three million Euros. Research is already being carried out here to find scientific answers to future challenges in the form of innovations,” said Elisabeth Köstinger.

March 2022 – PLANETARY BOUNDARIES – ONLINE LECTURE SERIES

A guideline for engineers about earth limitations – 2021-2022

In 2009, former director of the Stockholm Resilience Center Johan Rockström led a group of 28 internationally renowned scientists to identify the nine processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth system. The scientists proposed 9 quantitative planetary boundaries:

  • Climate Change
  • Change in Biosphere Integrity
  • Land-System Change
  • Freshwater Use
  • Biochemical Flows
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Atmospheric Aerosol Loading
  • Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
  • Introduction of Novel Entities

Crossing these boundaries increases the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Since then the planetary boundaries framework has generated enormous interest within science, policy, and practice. Over the course of 10 lectures, international experts will introduce the audience to the concept of the 9 planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.

https://ric-leoben.at/en/sdg/planetary-boundaries/

Mariaelena Murphy, MA

Mariaelena joined RIC Leoben in October 2019, as the Education Portfolio Manager. She holds a Master degree in Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. She worked as a Senior Lecturer at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (NL) for 17 years specialising in the Management discipline, also with a focus on cultural competences through the development and involvement in learning labs. Currently, her focus is on further developing the RIC Education Competence Center and managing the team’s portfolio of EIT and Erasmus projects. One the main responsibilities is to (co)create and maintain partnerships and projects that implement new teaching & learning pathways that foster a trans-disciplinary approach in connecting research, education, business and society for the future of T-shaped raw material engineers.

At a glance

ReviRis

Revitalising Post-Mining Regions: Problems and Potential in RIS Europe

Mining by its very nature disturbs the land and has a significant influence on what the post-mining landscape and land use becomes. Traditional reclamation practices have been, in the case of formally rehabilitated sites, to return the land to as much of an original condition as possible. In cases of abandoned or mine sites that received minimal or no formal rehabilitation efforts, this becomes more problematic. The locally affected community has the closest attachment to these landscapes and it is their best interest to be part of the decision-making process; one that considers the social, economic and biophysical implications of any closure and rehabilitation plan. For example, the local community may want to retain some of the man-made aspects of the mine site (e.g. pits or waste dumps) for their aesthetic or recreational value and to promote tourism as secondary land use. The key is the active participation and the extension of the Social Licence to Operate through mine closure and site rehabilitation and for them to play an active role in the ultimate post-mining landscape and land use.

Project website: https://www.taltech.ee/en/post-mining-regions

Duration: 01/2020 – 12/2021

Partner: Montanuniversität Leoben (RIC Leoben), AGH University of Science and Technology, AMPHOS21 Consulting SL, ECHMES Ltd., KGHM, National Technical University of Athens, Tallinn University of Technology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa