Raw materials

Mineral raw materials are indispensable! In our daily lives, for our well-being and for a prosperous society. Securing a responsible supply from domestic sources is a key element in achieving reliable raw material security for Europe. For this, decision-makers and politicians need reliable data and information on raw materials, mines, deposits and resources.

The four GeoERA Raw Material scientific projects EuroLithos, FRAME, MINDeSEA and MINTELL4EU provide this valuable and coherent information on onshore and offshore commodities in Europe with a special focus on critical raw materials (CRM).

Nearly 40 national and regional geological monitoring organisations and marine institutes shared expertise and information resulting in an improved EU raw materials database on European onshore and offshore resources.

To this end, the raw material data and information cover a wide range of information, some of the results of which are the first of their kind. These include:

  1. Detailed data and information at high resolution, such as the geochemical distribution of strategic and critical elements in selected minerals and host rocks, or petrographic and physio-chemical properties of natural rocks;
  2. Cookbooks and guides for the development of methods and for coherent understanding in their application;
  3. Information on aggregated national data on production, trade, resources, reserves and exploration at commodity level compiled in the electronic European Mineral Yearbook (e-MYB);
  4. Geo-referenced data on mineral resources, either in existing mines (including quarries) or as deposits or occurrences in the landscape, including information on the estimated quantities of the respective raw materials. Based on national data sets, this information has been compiled in the European Mineral Inventory;
  5. Mineral deposits, geology and potential for certain critical raw materials, in particular those essential for industrial and energy transformation (i.e. REE, lithium, cobalt, graphite and phosphate) have been compiled;
  6. Maps showing occurrences and predictivity of selected CRMs, e.g., first pan-European maps on marine mineral deposits and metallogenic areas distribution (i.e., Metallogenic map of hydrothermal mineralisation; Metallogenic Map of Ferromanganese Crust and Phosphorite Occurrences in pan-European Seas; Mineral-potential and prospectivity map of placers; Metallogenic map of polymetallic nodules; Exploration cruises carried out and mineral potential and prospectivity areas in pan-European Seas) and the first pan-European predictivity maps on onshore and offshore CRMs (e.g. on cobalt and phosphate);
  7. An ornamental stone information system, including map of unique resources, geological and technical information about resources and a series of national atlases;
  8. Case studies to reassess the potential of CRMs in historic mining sites or to test the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC);
  9. Compilation of the regulatory framework for exploration and mining in European seas.

The compiled data and information are publicly available through EGDI and widely shared with the EU Raw Materials Information System (RMIS).

Moreover, the scientific community has been kept informed through more than 30 peer-reviewed papers and through more than 100 conference presentations by the GeoERA Raw Materials scientists.

In May 2022 the “GeoERA Raw Materials Monograph – the past and the future” was published. The background for the Monograph was that the termination of the GeoERA projects leaves an important legacy for all as the innovation in mineral intelligence has been clearly shown throughout the course of the projects. GeoERA Raw Materials has addressed a wide range of aspects and produced new data, information and knowledge that is currently being requested and used. GeoERA Raw Materials has gone that little bit further and published a comprehensive monograph based on the results obtained in the EUROLITHOS, FRAME, MINDeSEA and MINTELL4EU projects.

The GeoERA Raw Materials Monograph now produced reflects some of the most relevant results obtained and contains not only information on raw material potentials in Europe and the use of UNFC/UNRMS, but also lists and links to the most important products and scientific publications conducted.

Links to maps:

The electronic European Minerals Yearbook (Production, other data types can be selected)

The European Minerals Inventory – Occurrences (points and areas)

The European Minerals Inventory – Mines (including Tourist mine sites)

Metallogenic map of hydrothermal mineralisation

Metallogenic Map of Ferromanganese Crust and Phosphorite Occurrences in pan-European Seas

Mineral-potential and prospectivity map of placers

Metallogenic map of polymetallic nodules

Exploration cruises carried out and mineral potential and prospectivity areas in pan-European Seas

Ornamental stone, unique types

First pan-European predictivity maps on onshore and offshore CRMs: Sadeghi M, Bertrand G, González FJ, de Oliveira D (2021) Outlining the cobalt and phosphor exploration potential areas and mineralisation in Europe: a collaboration between FRAME and MINDeSEA projects. In: FRAME Newsletter, Issue 8 | June 2021, FRAME Newsletter 8 and Newsletter 9.