1:30pm - 2:00pmSession Keynote
Towards a green future – Where is the critical raw material resource potential in Europe?
1Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (LNEG), Portugal; 2Mineral Resources Expert Group, EuroGeoSurveys, Brussels, Belgium
The “Green Future”; a concept of desirable European climate-neutral living conditions, which is the goal of the EU Green Deal means a huge increase in the use of mineral raw materials. Minerals are an essential component for many of today’s rapidly growing clean energy technologies – from wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles. But ensuring that these and other key technologies can continue to rely on sufficient mineral supplies to support the acceleration of clean energy transitions is a significant and often-ignored challenge.
As an example, the frequency of new discoveries has fallen even with a significant increase in exploration budgets. Between 2007 and 2016, ~54B€ were spent for a return of 25B€ of gold - an unsustainable exercise! Therefore, a new way of approaching mineral exploration must be adopted and traditional methods of exploring for greenfield mineral deposits need to be rethought to cushion this trend.
The need to bring these deposits faster on-line in the value chains of the circular economy, and the transformation into green technology items, needs modern and updated tools. Data integration and geographic information system (GIS) based analyses, which can improve exploration and detection of mineral deposits in Europe and elsewhere, are among those tools. However, the use of new exploration techniques needs to be allied with new geological, geochemical, geophysical, and drilling data and, most importantly, access to the territory to evidence Europe’s new mineral potential.
2:00pm - 2:15pm
Contrasting rare metal potentials in two Southern Alpine vein deposits
1Universität Innsbruck; 2Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen
Investigating rare metal potentials of the Alpine regions is of great importance to progress towards future supply independence. Sphalerite is an important carrier of Co, In, Ga, Ge, and Sb, and we know from the Eastern Alps, that vein deposits roughly host 66% of the Co, 18% of the Ga and 4% of the In resource. Here, we present data of sphalerite (and chalcopyrite) from two contrasting vein deposits in the Southern Alpine basement: the Pfunderer Berg (PF) Cu-Zn-Pb-Ag mine near Klausen and the Rabenstein (RS) F-Zn mine in the Sarn Valley. The PF mine is a Permian intrusion-hosted vein deposit with a chalcopyrite-sphalerite-galena-sulphosalt paragenesis. RS mine is a vein deposit with fluorite-sphalerite paragenesis, probably related to the Periadriatic fault.
The two ores show contrasting textures and chemistry of sphalerite, which are primarily related to formation temperature: at PB high-T ZnS is black and homogeneous and enriched in Fe-Mn-Cd-Cu-Se-Co-In-Sn, while at RS low-T ZnS is honey-coloured and zones and enriched in Pb-As-Ag-Sb-Hg-Tl-Ga-Ge. Rare metal medians at PB are 303, 124, and 187 µg/g for Co, In, and Sn. At RS medians for Ga, Sb, Ag, Ge, are 383, 203, 85, and 9.1 µg/g. Spot analyses can reach higher values, either related to mineral inclusions (PB) or to zoning (RS). Across zoned ZnS grains, co-variations with Fe-content (0.3 to 6 wt.%) or Cu (70 to 5000 µg/g) are related to evolving hydrothermal pulse. Results demonstrate significant rare metal variations across deposit types, but also complexities of fractionation within given deposits.
2:15pm - 2:30pm
In-situ trace element and S isotope systematics in porphyry-epithermal pyrite, Limnos Island, Greece
1Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany; 2Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, Faculty of Geology & Geoenvironment, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece; 3Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Angewandte Geowissenschaften, 10587 Berlin, Germany
A more sustainable society with CO2 neutral energy production requires substantial amounts of trace metal(loids). However, our understanding about the fractionation processes of these elements between the epithermal and porphyry environment is still limited, but may be essential to secure the future supply of these rare commodities. The porphyry-epithermal mineralization on Limnos (Fakos, Sardes, Kaspakas) show variable Te and related element (e.g., Au, Ag) contents, and therefore represent a natural laboratory to define key fractionation and enrichment processes.
Subalkaline to alkaline igneous rocks and siliciclastic sediments host the porphyry-epithermal mineralization on Limnos. Pyrite, magnetite and minor chalcopyrite dominate the porphyry mineralization, whereas the epithermal stage comprises pyrite, sphalerite, galena, chalcopyrite together with minor sulfosalts (e.g. enargite, tetrahedrite-tennantite, bournonite), tellurides and native Au. Pyrite is ubiquitous in most alteration-types and its chemical composition, therefore provides insights into mineralization processes at variable fluid conditions. Epithermal pyrite is enriched in most trace elements (e.g., As, Ag, Sb, Au, Pb, Tl) compared to porphyry pyrite (Se-bearing), most likely caused by a more favorable mineralization process in the epithermal environment. However, Te shows no systematic variation between porphyry and epithermal pyrite, which we refer to its competitive incorporation between pyrite, galena, sulfosalts and tellurides in the epithermal stage. Sulfur isotope variations in pyrite report on the contribution of magmatic and meteoric fluids in variable proportion between different mineralizations on Limnos. We present a hydrothermal model based on the mineralogical and chemical data, defining key fractionation processes for Te and related elements in the porphyry-epithermal environment.
2:30pm - 2:45pm
Harmonised data on European raw materials, the creation and content of the MIN4EU database
1Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark; 2British Geological Survey; 3Geological Survey of Slovenia; 4Geological Survey of Norway; 5Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières
European geology ranges from old mountain chains with more or less altered magmatic and sedimentary deposits over glaciogenic materials from the recent Ice Ages to very young marine or alluvial deposits etc. Thus, the ground under our feet carries a large variety of raw materials from sand and gravel over granites and marbles to precious or critical metals and minerals. Humans have extracted these materials from the (sub)surface since prehistorical eras, and these indispensable substances have and still do to a very large extent contribute to the evolution of humankind, and through the last couple of decades, national or regional geological surveys have played an important role in mapping these resources.
Most geological surveys host data on raw materials, however, data are typically organized in different ways from one country to another based on different geological traditions, legal frameworks etc. The MINTELL4EU project builds on previous projects to collect a selection of these national/regional raw material data, to store these in a central database, and finally to offer a visualization in a harmonized way at the European Geological Data Infrastructure (EGDI). This central database called MIN4EU includes, among other assets, the location of individual mineral occurrences and mines, aggregated statistical data at national level on production, trade, resources and reserves compiled in the electronic Minerals Yearbook, as well as data on test cases on UNFC. A brief overview of the database content and the resulting visualization through EGDI will be provided.
2:45pm - 3:00pm
MINTELL4EU; the European Minerals Yearbook
1British Geological Survey, The Lyell Centre, Edinburgh, EH14 4AP, UK; 2Geological Survey of Slovenia, Dimičeva ulica 14, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; 3Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
The MINTELL4EU project builds upon previous European-wide mineral intelligence projects, including ORAMA, MICA, MINventory and particularly the Minerals Intelligence Network for Europe project (Minerals4EU). In this most recent iteration, we have surveyed European geological surveys and other relevant data sources for detailed information on European mineral production, trade, resource, reserve and exploration data.
We present an updated electronic Minerals Yearbook, a snapshot of current European mineral intelligence. We will illustrate some preliminary data analysis of resources and reserves using baseline data from the previous survey in 2013. Time series analysis of production and trade data from 2013 will also be shown. We also present comparisons of European mineral data with global datasets for selected commodities essential to the net-zero carbon transition.