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  • Responsible Raw Materials

Marko Komac - INFACT project – a novel approach to the mining exploration in Europe

Updated: May 31, 2020

Exploration is the crucial first stage in the raw materials chain and has the goal of discovering economically viable deposits of raw materials. Periods of significant discovery directly follow innovations that either change the geological targets of exploration (fundamental theories), the physical places that are reached (regions and depths), or the manner in which they are explored (techniques and methods). Despite its rich history of mining and residual mineral wealth, current conditions within the EU present a number of social, political, legislative, cost and physical barriers to raw material exploration: barriers to be overcome by innovation, dialogue and reform.

Recognising that the future of sustainable exploration requires a reduction in environmental and social disturbance, the INFACT project focuses on innovative exploration techniques that are ‘non-invasive’ (airborne geophysics and remote sensing). The project includes investigation of the social aspects of raw materials exploration by integrating technological innovation and stakeholder engagement (encompassing local communities, wider society and industry) in order to encourage best-practice exploration conduct, measure public perceptions and improve relevance to industry and society alike.  INFACT is comprised of the following main components: 

  • Development and test of innovative, environmentally and socially ‘acceptable’ exploration technologies and processes - in an industrially-relevant environment,

  • Foundation of three reference sites in Europe (Sakatti in Finland; Geyer in Germany; and Cobre Las Cruces and Rio Tinto in Spain) for demonstration, benchmarking and certification of new technologies and analysis of public awareness and opinion in the south, middle and north of Europe, and

  • Stakeholder engagement and education: exploration practitioners, policy-makers and wider society.

As a part of the project a public survey was performed in the three countries where INFACT aims to establish the reference sites on their opinion about the mining and mineral exploration and short outcomes on the survey will be presented.

Fig 1. INFACT public survey on opinion about the mining and mineral exploration in Finland, Germany and Spain.


Assoc. Prof. Marko Komac, Ph.D., Eur Geo l#1294, currently an independent consultant, the President of the European Federation of Geologists (EFG), an external researcher at the Faculty for civil engineering at the University of Ljubljana, an Associate Professor for GIS at University of Nova Gorica and a Member of the Intraw Observatory Board as the Treasurer. From 2006 to 2014 Marko was the director of the Geological Survey of Slovenia where he also worked as a part-time researcher. From November 2016 to May 2019 Marko was the member of the Board of EFG, where he served as the External Relations Officer. From 2012 to 2016 he was a Vice-President of the IUGS, and in years 2011 and 2012 he was the President of the Euro Geo Surveys. He has more than 22 years experience in the field of landslide analyses, geographical information systems (GIS), application of remote sensing in geology, spatial analyses and modelling, geostatistics, mass-movements analyses, management of organisations and teams, and international networking. Currently he’s involved in several EU-funded geological projects. He's an author or co-author of over 500 bibliographic units mainly from the above listed research areas and several times Iron Man 70.3 finisher.

Marko Komac, Juha M. Kotilainen, Leila Ajjabou, Sari Kauppi, Ludger Benighaus, Ramón Rodríguez, Richard Gloaguen

European Federation of Geologists, Belgium;

University of Eastern Finland, Finland; Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany; Suomen Ymparistokeskus, Finland; Dialogik, Gremany; Asistencias Técnicas Clave, Spain

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