Within the Horizon 2020 project NEXT – New Exploration Technologies – methods are being developed to make raw materials exploration more efficient. NEXT aims at improving the success rate and reducing the exploration costs and environmental impact, and thereby enhance the acceptance of raw materials exploration in Europe.
For these objectives, the 16 project partners from leading research institutes, academia, service providers and industry in the EU are developing new geo-models, novel sensitive exploration technologies and data analysis methods which together are fast, cost-efficient, environmentally less intrusive, and therefore, potentially more socially acceptable. Methods developed reduce the current high exploration costs and aim at enhancing participation of civil society from the start of exploration, raising awareness and trust. Moreover, the reduced environmental impact of the new technologies and better knowledge about the factors influencing social licensing will help to improve the relationship between mining industry and broader society, a precondition for the further development of Europe´s extractive industry.
NEXT brings together mining industry, service providers and research institutions to develop an enhanced integrated exploration approach. It will utilize a new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) technology for geophysical surveying combined with the well-established but constantly emerging portable geochemical exploration tools (XRF, LIBS, Raman) and remote sensing technologies. In addition, the consortium facilitates the biogeochemical technology for mineral exploration.