Developing knowledge networks for critical raw materials
ProSUM is developing a centralised database of critical raw materials, focused on urban mines and recycling possibilities for secondary sourcing of materials that are vital to our manufacturing and technology sectors. This Urban Mine Knowledge Data Platform will reduce the impact of resource scarcity and instability on supply chains.
Some of the world’s most important resources are produced in a relatively small geographical area, and as such are vulnerable to political and environmental instability in the producing region. Examples include cobalt (where 40% of world supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo) and rare earths (over 90% of the world market is supplied from China).
By identifying alternative secondary sources of these critical materials, ProSUM can help to mitigate the deleterious effects of production concentrated in unstable regions. The main sources will be from WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), End of Life Vehicles (ELVs), batteries, and mining waste.
Every year in Europe, around 9 million tonnes of WEEE and 7-8 million tonnes and ELVs are generated, and over 1 million tonnes of batteries are sold. These products are a rich source of secondary critical raw materials (CRMs) in the urban mine. For example, 99% of world Gallium consumption is in integrated circuits and optoelctronic devices, 74% of Indium in flat panel displays and 27% of cobalt in rechargeable batteries. Previous and active mining deposits also contain untapped reserves of CRMs.
ProSUM, Latin for ‘I am useful’, will create an Information Network that allows partners in the network to provide and use data by the creation of an inventory of waste streams with a high potential to serve as a source of CRMs. This ground breaking project will produce the EU Urban Mine Knowledge Data Platform (EU-UMKDP) providing user friendly, seamless access to data and intelligence on mineral resources from extraction to end of life products with the ability to reference all spatial and non-spatial data. The link to primary mineral resources is provided through the existing EU Minerals Knowledge Data Platform. The project will be addressed to a wide range of end-users, including the recycling industry, producers and producer compliance schemes, and policy makers.
All available data will be collated and screened to see if it allows for better characterisation of the material content of these waste and whether better data is required. This will lead to the identification of the need for additional standards and datasets and harmonised methodologies for characterising the CRM content of these waste streams.
The first activity of the Network will be to identify how data should be presented and organised for this wide range of stakeholders to ensure it meets their needs. Within the Information Network, Special Interest Groups are also being set up to support the particular data needs of different groups of stakeholders.
Co-funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 Programme