Raw materials are essential for human development and to fuel a future based on a decarbonised and circular economy. Yet, several key challenges in the supply of mineral resources are their availability and the social and environmental impacts of their exploration, extraction, processing, use and end-of-life. Earth Observation (EO) data and services from Copernicus provides a multi-scale coverage of the Earth’s surface and can support smarter exploration, more efficient and cost-effective primary production and boost environmental impact monitoring across the raw materials life cycle.

The RawMatCop Academy, Copernicus for RawMaterials, offers a hands-on approach and shows how to unlock the power of Copernicus for companies, organisations or research institutions along the entire life cycle of raw materials. During the RawMatCop Academy, participants have the opportunity to work directly with Copernicus’ Sentinel satellite data and open source software to demonstrate how it can be used for:

  1. Securing primary and secondary mineral and material resources needed to transition to a sustainable and circular economy, and
  2. Monitoring environmental impact and increasing safety.

The course is a part of the RawMatCop programme , a cooperation between EIT RawMaterials and Copernicus, which aims to demonstrate new applications at the intersection between Earth observation data and the raw materials sector. It is funded by European Commission DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), and EIT RawMaterials.

Course content and structure

The course combines a mix of expert lectures and hands-on group work using case studies to demonstrate Copernicus applications.

Course participants hear from experts from industry and the research community on how Copernicus can make exploiting primary and secondary raw materials more cost-effective, safer and help comply with environmental legislation.

Course topics include:

  • Overview: Raw materials industrial and societal challenges facing Europe (e.g. lower ore grades, social license to operate, ground stability at active and closed mines, lack of critical raw materials) and the role of Copernicus to tackle these challenges
  • Future: Smarter, cost-effective solutions for raw materials exploration and mining + optimised ways to monitor environmental impact and increase safety. For example, you participants will learn how EO can be used to:
    • Improve accuracy of grade maps and optimise sampling of tailings and stockpiles
    • Focus exploration efforts in challenging environments
    • Deliver cost-effective, timely and comprehensive monitoring solutions for mining activities
    • Enhance transparency with public stakeholders regarding mining activities and environmental impacts (social license to operate)
    • Increase safety in and around mines via low-cost, low-maintenance ground stability monitoring tools.
  • Case studies: how Copernicus can be used in concrete case studies

Course participants receive introductory technical lectures on the basics of imaging technology, optical and active remote sensing, remote sensing in raw materials context, and the free data and software used for the course.

The remainder of the course primarily consists of hands-on exercises in small groups, in which participants work directly with Earth Observation data tools using powerful RUS Virtual Machines provided by Copernicus on case studies organised by theme:

  • Mineral Resources Supply: EO/Copernicus data tools and techniques for exploration of mineral resources:
    • Case study: Iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) mineralization exploration in the Arctic
    • Case study: Critical raw materials exploration in mine tailings
  • Environmental Impact Monitoring: EO/Copernicus data tools and techniques for monitoring of environmental impacts from mining:
    • Case study: Alluvial gold mining monitoring
    • Case study: Contamination monitoring of open-pit mines
    • Case study: Ground stability monitoring

Registration for the 2019 RawMatCop Academy is now closed.

For more information please contact: rawmatcop@eitrawmaterials.eu

About Copernicus

Copernicus is the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme, looking at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all. With the Copernicus programme, satellite data from “the Sentinels” is freely available with a high revisit time. This allows a better understanding of areas of interest at a low-cost and in a non-stop and in a stand-alone way. Therefore, Earth Observation (EO) methods contribute to a safe and sustainable supply of mineral resources through improving major aspects such as exploration efficiency, exploitation safety, and waste tracking of mineral resources.