The project will co-ordinate the expertise and multidisciplinary skills of 9 EU partners, from 5 EU states, 1 partner from Associate Country and 4 partners from 2 ICPC countries. This will ensure a critical mass approach to problem solving that cannot be achieved by individual nations or single high-caliber scientists working in isolation. In the past, many of these centers have undertaken independent and similar research, resulting in unnecessary duplication of effort; often with sub-optimal resourcing by national governments.
In effect, the consortium will constitute a "virtual" European group, allowing the interchange of equipment, expertise, knowledge and staff. In the past, individual national EU governments have not been able to compete with very large government-funded R&D programme's in the USA and elsewhere. This project will help a) to redress this imbalance, b) to take a significant technical lead and c) to consolidate the European Research Area (ERA) as a world-class competitive force in this important sector.
The EO-MINERS Consortium is composed of 14 partners spanning and overlapping the various domains and expertise relevant to the call topic addressed: Geosciences and environmental geosciences, Earth Observation and GIS integrated approaches, mining industry and linked research organisation, EO data providers, sustainable development mining indicators, socio-economics sustainability assessment methods and indicators, corporate social responsibility, territorial governance, participatory approaches and the extractive industry.
The Consortium includes:
- Five geological Surveys: Czech Republic, France, South Africa, Slovenia, United Kingdom,; of which four are members of EuroGeoSurveys, the Association of the Geological Surveys of the European Union.
- Three mining companies: Multi-national corporation - Anglo American plc (UK) with case studies in mining districts in South Africa (Anglo American Operation), Sokolovská uhelná a.s (Czech Republic) and KyrgyzAltyn (Kyrgyzstan).
- One research organisation representing the mining industry: MIRO (based in UK).
- One applied geoscience research organization : the Central Asian Institute for Applied Geoscience (Kyrgyzstan).
- Two universities: Tel-Aviv University (Israel), University of Versailles – St Quentin (France).
- One aerospace agency: DLR (Germany).
- One research institute on environment: Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment (Germany).
Graphical presentation of the Consortium spanning and overlapping domains and expertise
The British, Czech, French, and South African geological surveys all have a longstanding experience in using Earth Observation in mining-related environmental impact and have developed close twinning scientific collaboration on mining-related environmental studies in the past.
BRGM (as coordinator) and BGS were both involved in the FP5 MINEO project (contract IST-1999-10337, www.brgm.fr/mineo): Assessing and Monitoring the environmental Impact of Mining in Europe using advanced Earth Observation Techniques. The project was dedicated to developing the application of airborne hyperspectral data to mine waste characterization and monitoring.
Since 1996, BRGM and CGS (South African Geological Survey) have been collaborating in the development of Remote Sensing and GIS-based integrated approaches of mining environments in one of the most heavily exploited area in the world, i.e. the Witwatersrand gold field in South Africa. In this frame, they have tested and used together various EO techniques, including conventional sensors (Landsat TM), high spectral resolution satellite sensors (ASTER, Hyperion) very high resolution satellite sensors (IKONOS) and airborne radiometrics with in situ measurements (pH, Eh, Conductivity, portable Niton XRF analysis…). Furthermore, BRGM (as coordinator) and CGS were leading partners in the FP6 EOLANDEG Specific Support Action (contract INCO-CT2005-015099): Earth Observation Initiative in former homeland of South Africa in support to EU activities on land degradation and integrated catchment management), where a strong dissemination and capacity building component was developed.
The Czech Geological Survey (CzechGS) and BRGM started collaborating two years ago and have carried out comprehensive field spectroradiometry campaigns to spectrally characterize and map lithologies and Acid Mine Drainage minerals in and around lignite open casts in NW Bohemia.
This solid know-how developed by these four surveys in a comprehensive use of EO techniques (satellite, airborne and in situ) for mining environment impact assessment is strongly backed by the GeoZS international experience in the definition of Indicators of Sustainability for the Minerals Extraction Industries. CAIAG finally will complete the set of experiences for Central Asia.
The University of Versailles – St Quentin (UVSQ) brings the social and societal dimension of sustainable development of mining to the project. UVSQ already worked together with GeoZS on sustainability indicators.
The Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment develops resource use scenarios and policy relevant indicators and participates in the GNU project where it develops methodology to connect Earth Observation with policies.
DLR, the German Aerospace Agency, has been a leading organisation in imaging spectroscopy in Europe and has a very longstanding experience in acquisition, pre-processing and evaluation of hyper-spectral imagery using different sensor systems, e.g. DAIS 9715, ROSIS, HyMAP and APEX within different national and EU-wide flight campaigns. DLR hosts the necessary calibration facilities and has developed numerous world-class software packages for pre-processing, validating and analyzing hyperspectral imagery for different thematic applications. Besides the capabilities to operate the different sensor systems, DLR will own and operate the new airborne system ARES and has been started, conjointly with the leading industry, to develop the hyperspectral satellite sensor system EnMAP. Besides these activities, image processing standards are currently under development on national (VDI, German Assoc. of Engineers) and EU-level (EUFAR, European Fleet for Airborne Research). DLR's experience is backed by Tel-Aviv University experience in the contribution of imaging spectroscopy to the soils and urban environments, which will be of use in EO-MINERS application developments.
TAU is the leading laboratory in Israel for imaging spectroscopy remote sensing (RSGL), experts in soil mapping, environmental monitoring and hyperspectral remote sensing applications. The laboratory is situated in the Department of Geography and Human Environment at Tel-Aviv University which consider to be one of the largest university in Israel.
The mining companies involved in the project either have a solid experience of Earth Observation technologies (AOL-ATD) or have been involved in projects using these methods (SU). AOL-ATD in particular has a longstanding experience in very high spectral resolution (field spectroradiometry, imaging spectroscopy) data processing as well as in thermal infrared data use.
The Mineral Industry Research Organisation (MIRO) is a leading international collaborative research and technological development (RTD) facilitator and provider of project management services to the minerals and related industries. MIRO works in partnership with industry, government, research and service providers to identify, influence, fund, transfer, deliver and communicate information and technology development to address the needs of stakeholders in the sector. Since its formation in 1974, MIRO has established and managed more than 200 major technical RTD projects with a combined value of over £50M. MIRO has demonstrated specific experience in RTD related to mineral exploration, mining and mineral extraction, mineral processing, environmental technologies, waste management, new materials, land reclamation and information technology. MIRO managed research activities delivering industrially relevant, sustainable, technological solutions worldwide. MIRO is funding member of the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP SMR) and Dr Horst Hejny was coordinator of the EU funded NESMI network, which formed the nucleus for the ETP SMR.
As the project is dealing with assessment of environmental and social impacts resulting from activities of the extractive industries this industry branch should be represented to a significant extent in the project consortium. Anglo American as one of the biggest mining companies in the world and Sokolov Lignite Mining Company from Czech Republic are direct members of the consortium and manage the demonstration sites addressed in the project. KyrgyzAltyn operates the goldmining sector in Kyrgyzstan. Others are intended to be involved during the trialogue activities, because industry in general is seen as one party in the trialogue and is a "must have" or "must participate" there. Further to that the project partner MIRO represents quite a lot of companies and organisations from the minerals industry. MIRO as a non-profit membership organisation has a number of mining companies (including some of the "big" ones) as members and thus can provide short and easy access to them in order to discuss things or providing contacts for further actions.
The project works to the benefit of the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP-SMR) hence contacts to the ETP-SMR are essential. Both BRGM and MIRO are members of the ETP SMR High Level Group. BRGM as coordinator and MIRO as WP leader dealing with all the communication actions guarantee sufficient relations to the ETP-SMR.
The Consortium includes several partners who have a long experience in GEO in other application areas and are active participants in developing and implementing its workplan. BGS co-authored the Disasters Societal Benefit area at the initiation of GEO and currently represent the UK on GEO’s Science and Technology Committee. BRGM lead several GEO Tasks, particularly in the Disasters SBA, and CGS is also active in this global initiative, with South Africa being one of the GEO Co-Chairs and hosting the most recent Ministerial. From the space agency side, DLR is a key German and European player in GEO.