Currently, the EU is heavily dependent on external sources of raw materials. These critical raw materials are essential for the function of our modern society. Ranging from cobalt (used in the aerospace industry) to magnesite (used for steel manufacturing), these materials can and should be harvested from within the EU to ensure a consistent supply. Relying on external sources as we have is subject to influences outside of EU control. War, sanctions, and production restrictions all contribute to the vulnerability of not being self-sufficient in the critical raw materials market.
However, to meet the objectives of the EU Green Deal, the entire mining life cycle from exploration to mine-site rehabilitation must improved to produce minimal impact on the Earth. Therefore, Europe must lead the way in terms of safe, sustainable and responsible mining proceedures.
Unlocking the potential of Earth Observation data
The Multi-source and multi-scale Earth Observation and novel machine learning methods for mineral exploration and mine site monitoring (MultiMiner) project develops novel data processing algorithms for efficient utilization of Earth Observation technologies for mineral exploration and mine site monitoring. MultiMiner unlocks the potential of EO data, including Copernicus, commercial satellites, airborne, drone and in situ data, to support the entire mining life cycle from early and advanced stage mineral exploration to operational, closure and post-closure stages. This is achieved by creating generic, but highly innovative machine learning solutions which augment and potentially substitute in situ data collected on the ground.
Through utilizing Earth Observation data, we can not only find additional primary resources within Europe, but we can also improve upon current mining practices. MultiMiner's Earth Observation solutions have a very low environmental impact. Furthermore, they are more economically efficient and produce a safer mining environment overall. By using Earth Observation, we can detect any environmental impacts of mining much earlier. Any data MultiMiner collects about raw material sources that cannot currently be accessed will be stored for future generations.