This reference region comprises two mining sites in the Iberian Pyrite Belt, both in Andalusia, South of Spain:
Cobre Las Cruces is an open pit copper mine and on-site plant in Gerena, 20 kilometers northwest of Seville. It is operated by First Quantum Minerals.
Minas de Ríotinto is a well-known ancient opencast polymetallic mine located in Huelva province, 65 kilometers northwest of Seville. It is operated by Atalaya Mining.
The results of INFACT will benefit the wider European society, whether in a form of environmentally friendly and socially acceptable exploration techniques or in a form of rising mineral resources security. Engaging society on all levels, horizontally and vertically, is the key issue for INFACT.
The engagement of the Civil Society in Andalucia, regarding the mining activity takes place in several stages: in different administrative procedures public consultation are made by the responsible Administration (mining permitting, exploration permitting, land use planning, environmental protection planning, etc). Also, the events of diffusion and social participation of the mining activity (students, visitors, public in general, etc), Aggregates day, Geoloday, visits plan of the main mining companies (Cobre las Cruces www.fundacioncobrelascruces.com, MATSA www.matsamining.com/visitas-matsa/, Atalaya Mining email@example.com , etc).
In addition, the diffusion of the mining heritage makes an important work of approaching the mining activity and its history to the civil society (Minas de Río Tinto, Distrito de Linares, Minas de Herrerías, Las Menas de Serón, Caleras de Morón, etc)
Assessing the legal and legislative frames within European countries in the field of the exploration, including existing or potential obstacles, and finding the best practices and policies. It will provide a practical and acceptable roadmap towards a Europe that presents a more attractive investment target for the exploration industry, which will improve systems that affect exploration conditions in Europe.
The regional mining administration of Andalusia is involved in different actions to eliminate or soften the obstacles to mining activity.
Following the Mining Strategy of Andalusia 2020, it takes part of a working group with the regional authority of Environment and Territory Planning, in relation to the prohibitions and limitations on mining activity in the different types of spaces protected or figures of urban planning, as well as the compatibility of sustainable mining activity and the preservation of the environmental values of the territory.
On the other hand, it takes part of the working group, organized by the National Administration, with competencies in mining, on the adaptation, implementation, and homogenization of mining regulations.
INFACT targets the conditions that limit the effectiveness of the exploration industry and development of innovative non-invasive exploration tools that will pave the path to better, more effective, environmentally friendly, and publicly acceptable approaches to mining in Europe.
The Mining Strategy of Andalusia 2020 combines the efforts of the Mining Administration, industry, professionals and trade unions. Regarding mining exploration, Axis 1: Promotion of the Andalusian Mining Potential, is focused on:
-To increase the Andalusian Mining Potential knowledge: geochemistry and geophysics mapping of the main mineral potential areas,
– Mining support from Administration: , dissemination of the interest to invest in our region,
– Improving mining image and social acceptance: educational actions, Corporate Social Responsibility, economic and social incidence of mining activities studies, etc
– Supporting mining exploration: mining rights contests, new rules for clarify, simplify and shorten the mining permitting procedures and have greater legal certainty.
With the aim to achieve the cutting-edge exploration approach, top researchers and experts are engaged in the project. A special attention is given to identifying the right education-related mechanisms for addressing various stakeholder groups. Academic participation in INFACT assures its credibility and unbiased approach.
The Andalusian University System composed by 10 public and one private university, offers the possibility to reach an Engineering Degree in three of them: University of Jaén (Degree in Mining Technology Engineering); University of Córdoba (Degree in Energy Resources and Mining Engineering) and the University of Huelva (Degree in Engineering in Exploitation of Mines and Energy Resources). Additionally, the University of Granada and the University of Huelva offer a Degree of Geology, with the possibility in Huelva to reach a double Degree in Geology and Environmental Sciences.
The Andalusian university population exceeds 250,000 students, 17% of which studying engineering or architecture High Education Programs.
Research and innovation are key factors for the Andalusian mining sector, both for the identification of resources and for the design of new extractive technologies that allow access to reefs in terms of satisfactory profitability.
The Andalusian Innovation Strategy, RIS3Andalucía pays specific attention to mining sector, including a particular Action Line (L33) “Mining integrated in the territory” within its Priority: “Endogenous territorial based Resources”.
Andalusian business sector collaborates with several research groups in this area, as well as with the Academia, especially with mining engineering schools at the Universities, and the groups working at specific Research and Innovation Centres inside the Andalusian Knowledge System, such as the “Advanced Technology Centre for Stone, CTAP” and the Research Centre for Sustainable Mining.
Furthermore, the Andalusia mining sector is attentive to take into account a focus on future beyond the depletion of non-renewable resources, and mainly regarding its connection with research and environmental development, based on the requirements for sustainable exploitation and the necessary restoration processes. These activities can generate added value for Andalusia by transferring its experience to other regions and countries.
INFACT is based on nurturing a strong stakeholder dialog and communication throughout the project and beyond it. It aims at achieving a SLO (social license to operate) for novel exploration techniques and consequentially their wide acceptance.
Andalusia is a land with a millennial mining tradition and a vast mining heritage, especially in the region where INFACT is going to be developed. The local communities share strong bonds with the mining activity, deeper than just the labor or economic relations and it is an essential part of the landscape and territorial identity.
Stakeholders are identified from a wide point of view, meaning that the members of the local communities, institutional and economic actors are taken into account throughout INFACT project. The activities will be developed considering mining partners in Andalusia, which already run social programs of education, employment and culture. Also, INFACT will dialogue with the main public and private social agents operating in this territory such as Andalusia regional administration, NGOs, the mining sector (AMINER) and experts from the Universities of Huelva and Seville.
INFACT will work on the ground with the stakeholders through interviews, roundtables, workshops and focus groups, as part of a detailed stakeholder engagement plan. An expert seminar on “Mining in society” will allow deepening in the relation of exploration and mining in the territorial development and transferring the outcomes to the innovative exploration technologies.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 776487.