The

concept

Industry

The concept

Background

In order to foster more, but sustainable mineral production in the EU, SUMEX (SUstainable Management in EXtractive industries) will establish a sustainability framework for the extractive industries in Europe.

It does so by considering the Sustainable Development Goals, the European Green Deal, as well as EU Social License to Operate considerations and will involve stakeholders from civil society, academia, government and academic backgrounds from all across the EU.

This framework is then applied across the extractives value chain to analyse the mineral, as well as relevant economic, environmental and social policy frameworks of the EU, member states and selected regions along five focus areas – socio-economic and environmental impact assessments, land use planning, health and safety, reporting official statistics and permitting processes/policy integration – to find, or build, where needed, good practices or tools for an open access toolkit, which will be embedded in a broader Community of Practice (CoP) and which forms the basis for capacity building.

This CoP will consider relevant stakeholder groups, with a focus on permitting authorities, across the EU, providing a digital platform and using a series of workshops and webinars.

In SUMEX, the experience from other projects like MINGUIDE, MINLAND, MIREU, STRADE builds a powerful foundation for addressing the challenge of how best to implement sustainability considerations into the whole raw materials value chain.

What makes SUMEX stand out?

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It involves Andalusia as a regional partner to act as

1) a test case and
2) to involve other regions, i.e. those represented in MIREU and the OECD Mining Regions and Cities Initiative, to participate in SUMEX, as well as having access to the informal network of mining authorities and

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It covers two practical use cases

involving industry partners, for two important and completely different raw material groups – construction and battery materials.
The European Commission is funding SUMEX under the Grant Agreement number 101003622 with € 1 999 551,25 EU contribution.

Approach

Definition and operationalisation of sustainable management in the EU context

Despite the broad acceptance of sustainability as a narrative and/or concept for policy development and policy implementation, a broad agreement regarding its operationalisation in the extractive industries in Europe is still contested or even lacking. SUMEX will establish a conceptual framework for sustainable management of mineral resources, in the institutional context of the EU, Member States (MS) and relevant subnational units (i.e. regions). The conceptual framework will be established referring to one of the key sustainability concepts such as Demand Side Response (DSR) approach (or e.g. thematic approach, capital frameworks), in the context of weak or strong sustainability.

Clustering & meta-analysis based on previous and current project results
In the last years, a large number of H2020 projects (and adjoining calls and funding) have addressed various aspects of policy implementation, including land-use planning, socio-environmental impact, health & safety or reporting to support transparent permitting processes. However, currently the results are fragmented, dispersed and lack synthesis. Hence, SUMEX will strongly build on meta research, analysing and synthesising work and results that have been conducted in these projects. This systematic synthesis will also provide a view on the gaps and shortcomings of previous research and fill that gap.
Policy analysis, good practises and use cases
While previous projects have covered the full set of commodity groups (e.g. MINLAND), they have not covered horizontal and vertical policy integration and coordination along the entire value chain, which is of particular importance regarding the upstream and downstream processes for mineral resources. Diverse institutional frameworks on the EU MS and subnational levels are increasing the challenge regarding policy coordination and integration as well as a coherent approach of sustainable mineral resource management in the EU. SUMEX will close this gap through the meta-analysis mentioned above and by conducting an in-depth analysis of 2 selected use-cases, covering 2 very different raw materials, which are of pivotal importance in the EU economic context: (a) battery materials, and (b) construction materials.
Development of a digital toolkit of good practises and principles
The toolkit can be understood as a soft policy tool, providing input for learning and capacity building and thus improving policy making, focussing on the access to deposits and transparent permitting procedures. SUMEX will develop a digital toolkit, working as a central and dynamic knowledge repository of good practises and principles. The knowledge repository will be the basis for learning and capacity building processes in the Community of Practice (CoP), which is envisioned to be self-sustaining beyond SUMEX’s duration.
Establishment of a Community of Practice (CoP)

A CoP is a group of actors that is sharing a particular practise. Learning is a social phenomenon, that is integrated in culture, values and practises of a certain community. For those experiential approaches, practise and learning are intertwined, explaining the importance of ‘real-world’ links, application and consequences of the learning experience. A CoP can exist as long as the members believe they have something to contribute to it, or gain from it. SUMEX will strongly draw on the Learners & Leaders League (3L) approach, establishing a CoP using co-located (physical) and virtual environments of engagement and peer learning, facilitating good practise experiences.

Expected impacts

Towards the end of the project:

A tested and validated definition of sustainable management criteria.

An expanded knowledge of horizontal and vertical policy integration, coordination, policy mixes and conditions that support agenda setting.

A toolkit which functions as the core of an active learning and exchange environment for the Community of Practice (CoP).

Validated good practises and principles, which contribute to better decision making, decision quality and transparent permitting procedures.

Beyond the project boundaries and project period:

Establish a CoP that will endure after the official project end, supported by the continuation of the 3L platform.

Support public and political acceptance of mineral extraction: next to public acceptance, political acceptance is crucial to support mineral activities. SUMEX will contribute to both, by enhancing transparent planning, policy and permitting processes and thus increasing trust, and supporting an improved understanding of agenda setting.

Long-term:

Good practises on health and safety are supporting improved working practises in extractive industry operations.
One-stop-shop for the best up-to-date practices in the extractive industries with the aim to be regularly updated with the two-way information flow governed by the experts (learning from and contributing to with the experience and/or with the information on gaps).
A long-term platform for providing tools for the wider public.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 101003622

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