A winter school on sustainable mineral exploration, organized by two H2020 projects, PACIFIC and INFACT, took place on the beautiful campus of the International University of Andalusia in Huelva, Spain on 9-12 March 2020.

The main goal was to describe the techniques and knowledge of sustainable mineral exploration developed within the two projects and to emphasize the importance of building a wider society awareness of the raw materials value chain. The program included lectures, practical sessions and visits to local mine sites. Talks were given by 19 invited experts as well as representatives from the European Commission, EIT Raw Materials and scientists in INFACT and PACIFIC H2020 projects.

The target audience was European master students, PhDs and post-doctoral researchers. In total, 53 attendees from 13 countries attended the school, both in Huelva and remotely. Indeed, 13 students were affected by travel bans or other restrictions related to the Coronavirus pandemic but they were able to follow the lectures remotely.

In spite of the difficult circumstances at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, feedback received from students and other participants clearly demonstrates that the school was a great success! The students were eager to learn, and the organizers received lots of positive reactions and comments during and after the school. Applications to attend the school greatly exceed the number of available places suggesting a need in both the research community and in industry to learn more about sustainable techniques for mineral exploration in Europe.

Both PACIFIC and INFACT were delighted by this successful cooperation between the two Horizon 2020 projects. The school offered the opportunity for participants to learn about each other’s program and provided a collaborative space where researchers from both projects were able to plan new scientific collaborations.

 

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