Project duration: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2021


One of the wealthiest tungsten-tin-(tantalum-lithium) mineral belts in the world is located in western and central-eastern Europe, where different types of mineralization are related to certain granitic rocks. These ore deposits were intensely mined till the 1980s when the global crash of metal prices triggered the closure of most of the tin mines. More recently, market and political changes in the 2010s initiated the gradual reactivation of this mining sector and currently, there are a few producing mines and tens of advanced exploration projects. However, all of these projects are brownfields and occur in or near already existing mine sites. This is partially caused by several issues that are specific for this type of mineralization. The deposits are usually low tonnage and mostly worked by SME’s, they form irregular masses or narrow veins with difficult grade control, resource evaluation, and ore processing. Furthermore, the restricted geographic location, away from the major ore belts, and the price crisis have kept these deposits away from the recent advances of conceptual exploration. All of these problems have hampered greenfields exploration and advances in ore concentration and resource estimation.

The solution (technology)

This project aims to solve most of the problems that arise during the early and advanced stages of W-Sn-(Ta-Li) exploration, effective ore targeting, and ore processing. It is estimated that using the methods proposed, around ten new mines can be developed and opened, reaching the European self-production on a mid-term time scale. The technical work packages of this project are designed to solve specific problems related to the targeting of the most economically significant styles of W-Sn-(Ta-Li) mineralization. This is predicted to promote the interest of junior companies for these targets, giving guides for exploration and solving many of the technical problems that arise during the ‘Go or No-Go’ decisions in mineral exploration. The proposed work includes the evaluation and definition of the key guides for ore exploration (conceptual modelling and definition of pathfinders and vectors to ore, including magnetic anomaly and trace element/mineralogical variations in hydrothermal aureoles, structural studies and geophysical exploration), the evaluation of mineralogical and petrophysical properties of these complex ores using a novel and efficient, water- and energy-saving prototype for comminution (VeRo Liberator®), a new method of grade and resource evaluation using digital discrimination of ores, as well as modern approaches to obtaining the social license for mining.


  • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas M.P., CSIC (Spanish National Research Council), Spain (Lead Partner)
  • AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland
  • Fakulta Geologie Narodnej Univerzity Tarasa Szevczenka v Kijeve (University of Kiev), Ukraine
  • Geomet s.r.o., Czech Republic
  • Lithica SCCL, Spain
  • Luleå University of Technology (LTU), Sweden
  • Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
  • Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (MEERI), Poland
  • Redstone Exploration Services Sp. z o.o., Poland
  • Sociedade Mineira de Pegmatites Ltda (Pegmatítica), Portugal
  • Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, UPM (Technical University of Madrid), Spain
  • University of Zagreb – Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering (UNIZG-RGNF), Croatia
  • Valoriza Minería SLU, Spain