The MIREU project has since the start collaborated closely with its sister project REMIX (Interreg Europe). The two projects do not only share eight partners but are also closely linked through their objectives and ambitions. Both projects put great emphasis on the need for European mining and metallurgy regions to collaborate and to map synergies between themselves to improve the conditions for the raw materials industries both within the regions and on an EU level.
Several MIREU project partners have participated in the REMIX Peer Review Visits, which have taken place in the participating regions. The visits have enabled the MIREU partners to take part of the best practices and experiences that have been shared amongst the regional stakeholders, as well as to introduce the MIREU project to a broader group. The two recent REMIX visits, to Delphi in the region of Sterea Ellada in Greece and to Fundão in the Centro Region in Portugal, were attended by several MIREU partners and offered great insights into the mining and metallurgy sector in these two regions.
During the two-day meeting in Delphi, the invited stakeholders discussed many significant issues, such as the challenges and prospects for the mining and metallurgy sector, the framework conditions that may favour or inhibit the development of the raw materials sector in the region of Sterea Ellada, and the funding opportunities for innovation and development. The meeting consisted of presentations by regional stakeholders, roundtable discussions, and clustering between different raw materials projects. Some of the policy recommendations that the participants found important included ensuring a strong government policy which will safeguard the future of mining; incorporating circular economy tools into mining operation policies and mining rehabilitation; and engaging stakeholders in the process of establishing meaningful communication with local communities to regain and retain trust and SLO.
The last day included two visits, the first one took place at the interactive mining museum Vagonetto Phocis Mining Park and the second one at the aluminium producing company Aluminium of Greece. While the first visit gave an insight into the mining heritage of bauxite in the area, the latter gave the participants the opportunity to monitor the process of producing aluminium from ore to metal.
The Peer Review Visit in Fundão gave an insight into the mining and metallurgy sector in the Centro Region, with topics such as rehabilitation of mining areas; geoturism; and R&D and sustainability of resources in the mining sector being discussed. The meeting also included a clustering session with some of the other raw materials projects and a session of roundtable discussions on the themes of education and social acceptance of mineral resources exploration; circular economy; innovation and technology in mining; and the importance of geological knowledge.
The second day included a visit to the Panasqueira tin and tungsten mine, where the participants got an interesting introduction to the history and activities of the mine; a visit to the main entrance of the mine; and a tour of the ore treatment plant.
Many of the outcomes of the REMIX Peer Review Visits play very well into the MIREU activities and the two projects can benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge. Many of the topics discussed at the REMIX meetings, such as social acceptance, also have a significant role in the MIREU project. The close collaboration will continue, and the project partners are already in March heading to Joensuu in Finland for the next REMIX meeting.