The coal phase-out represents an unprecedented economic and socio-political challenge for Saxony, in which the words mining and infrastructure are mentioned the most. In this context, the conference series "Mining meets Railway Technology" - a joint format of the industrial associations GKZ Freiberg and BTS Rail Saxony - addressed relevant dependencies of the rail-bound infrastructure with the securing of raw materials and water management at their latest conference in the Dresden Elbflorenz Hotel. Between needs, wishes and funding, on the one hand, and the understanding of geotechnical, material and water management challenges, on the other hand, experts on the subject gave lectures on the imponderables of a complex regional structural change.

Freiberg, January 22, 2020

At the invitation of the head of the GKZ Water Working Group, Prof. Traugott Scheytt, the President of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Professor Ralph Watzel, was a guest at the GKZ office in Freiberg. Topics were the implementation of the new federal raw material strategy in line with the continuation of the Saxon raw material strategy as well as the assessment of the water management measures in the multifaceted structural change in Lusatia and worldwide.

Professor Watzel first introduced the development of his house. He emphasized the need for the further development of scientific performance and the emphasis on thematic priorities in the eight subject areas, which BGR is addressing. He saw more need for networking here and introduced some points regarding the future direction of strategy BGR 2025.

The participants welcomed the expansion of the federal raw materials policy with a focus on resource efficiency and recycling and saw Saxony as a smelter and metallurgy region with its profound metallurgical knowledge well positioned. GKZ Managing Director Dr. Reimer invited Professor Watzel and his colleagues from DERA to the upcoming GKZ club visit at member Feinhütte Halsbrücke. Feinhütte is only one out of three European tin / lead smelters and is also working on the backward integration to diversify the material feed.

Prof. Watzel emphasized the importance of a European and global perspective not only in water management, but also in the area of ​​securing raw materials. GKZ would like to see more cooperation here, also through committee work in Brussels, where it is one of the few German institutions. The Council of Mining and Metallurgy Regions in EU (CoMMER) will be of importance in the future, which will be established this year as part of the EU HORIZON 2020 project MIREU . This could also anchor water-related issues and remedial mining issues.

With regard to the effects of global change on groundwater resources, to which Professor Watzel gave the same evening at lecture at the Krüger Colloquium of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, the President sees in Germany a certain fragmentation of the research landscape. As an advocate of profound scientific research, analysis and evaluation, Professor Watzel sees a need for action, but also good solutions for the pressing issues of the time such as climate, water and raw material security.

Not far from Görlitz, in the Polish Łagów, the consortium of the INTERREG Europe MINELIFE project invited to the final conference. Almost 100 guests from politics, economy and administration followed the motto "A life with mining". GKZ presented from the experiences made from the HORIZON 2020 project MIREU - Network of Mining and Metallurgy Regions in EU and INTERREG Europe project REMIX - Smart and Green Mining Regions in EU an Overview of Non-technical challenges of valorisation of the European raw material base. Continue reading…

Sustainable and unhindered access to raw materials has been an important topic for the EU in recent years and with global demand increasing for such materials to produce a range of modern technologies, its importance is only growing. Therefore, the European Commission is gathering the European raw materials community for the fourth time for a five-day long event dedicated to raw materials. The EU Raw Materials Week will this year take place between 18-22 November in Brussels. As a strong voice for the European mining and metallurgy regions, the MIREU project – in which GKZ is project partner - will of course be attending these proceedings – this year with our own full-day event!

MIREU is partnering up with the European Minerals Day and EUMICON - the European Mineral Resources Confederation – to organise the event “Raw Materials Meeting Societal Needs”, which will take place on Thursday 21st November. Through this event, the organisers hope to bring together a wide variety of stakeholders, such as EU projects and other initiatives related to the raw materials sector; regional authorities; industrial representatives; as well as other interested stakeholders, to discuss and exchange ideas on current challenges and topics within the sector.

This event aims to tackle many current topics on raw materials and their link to European societies. The first session is dedicated to a discussion on current challenges and needs of the European raw materials sector and multiple value chain challenges, with an emphasis on the importance of local raw materials production in Europe to secure the future resilience of the industry. Local production is important, as it not only supports a balanced market situation for many raw materials, but it also allows value chains to develop which ensures that strategically important industries will remain in Europe. Furthermore, local sourcing ensures that social and environmental aspects of production will be fulfilled by European norms and regulations, which, in light of current trends, will become even more important as the consumer demand for sustainable raw materials is constantly increasing.

The focus of the second session will be on the importance of creating public awareness of the added value that raw materials bring to regional and local economies. Companies, local politicians and researchers will present testimonies and share their experiences with us on how to create awareness on European raw materials, by highlighting exciting projects and initiatives from different corners of Europe.

The third session will focus on the potential to create new business opportunities and economic growth in European mining and metallurgy regions, as well as the importance of cooperation between such regions, governments, industry and local communities in order to increase the competitiveness of European mineral producers and to support the just transition to a low carbon economy without increasing inequalities.

Based on the discussions at this event, a report summarising the presented case studies with recommendations for future work to secure a sustained and sustainable production of mineral raw materials within Europe will be released. We hope that you will join us for this exciting event and look forward to welcoming you in Brussels in November.

Sign up to the EU Raw Materials Week here!


Coordination and Support Action (CSA)
This project has received funding from the European
Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
under grant agreement No 820707
Start date : 2018-11-01 Duration : 24 Months


CICERONE - D1.1 - Overview report on definition and concept of the Circular Economy in a European Perspective with attachment Overview of Raw Materials Sector in Circular Economy and Trends in Technology and Business Fields

On the basis of a literature research, this subtask develops a conceptional framework for a common understanding of CE within the project team and for the following work packages and tasks. After a brief introduction into the objectives and the context of a circular economy, a more elaborated look into the necessity of an explicit understanding of CE, the objectives, the spatial perspective of CE and the specific challenges within the CICERONE context will be done, in order to develop a basis for a common understanding within the project context. Circular economy can and has to be understood as an (eco-)innovation agenda. Therefore, the paper investigates the role policy has to play to support innovation for a CE transition, for creating the framework conditions and why CE has also to be build from the ground up. Finally, the paper looks from two perspectives at emerging trends and business models in a CE to sketch next steps towards the transition in a selection of central sectors. Conclusions are drawn on the basis of the insights gained by the preceding chapters.


CICERONE - D1.2 - Report on current state of the art & understanding of the Circular Economy

The key objective of this deliverable is to gain insights on and assess how CE is being implemented and R&I is being funded at regional level, e.g., via the RIS3 strategy and Structural Funds. As such it sets the scope for the project and provides the background against which programmes and measures can be understood, assessed, developed and recommended in succinct tasks and work packages. The objective of this report is to provide a concise overview of the current R&I priorities, as expressed in running and newly introduced funding and legislative measures with respect to Circular Economy in European countries and regions.


CICERONE - D4.2 - Report on survey of programme owners

One of the main approaches of the CICERONE project towards establishing an effective platform and building a joint programming for circular economy is to engage stakeholders into a wide-scale consultation process. In this respect the first CICERONE stakeholder workshop on "Circular Europe: the future of circular economy programming" was held during the World Resources Forum conference 2019 in Antwerp. This deliverable is a summary of the outcomes of this workshop. The insights received from the stakeholders will be used for developing the draft SRIA (Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda) which is one of the main deliverables of the project.


CICERONE - D4.5 - Proceedings of Workshop #1

One of the main approaches of the CICERONE project towards establishing an effective platform and building a joint programming for circular economy is to engage stakeholders into a wide-scale consultation process. In this respect the first CICERONE stakeholder workshop on "Circular Europe: the future of circular economy programming" was held during the World Resources Forum conference 2019 in Antwerp. This deliverable is a summary of the outcomes of this workshop. The insights received from the stakeholders will be used for developing the draft SRIA (Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda) which is one of the main deliverables of the project.

Since 2009, the municipality of Demitz-Thumitz, the centre of the former Lusatian granite mining, has transformed into a granite village for tourists to experience the beauty of natural stone. The valorisation of the technical and cultural heritage is supported by and developed in close cooperation with the Geokompetenzzentrum Freiberg e.V. (GKZ). Together, thematic trails natural stone production and manufactoring, an adventure museum "Alte Steinsäge" and other various presentation and exhibition sites with natural stone were created in the townscape.

Every two years Demitz-Thumitz presents itself, its active quarries and workshops through open visit and welcome visitors from near and far. The theme of this year was a two-day workshop focused on the joint commitment to traditional crafts of glass and stone with partners from the Piechowice glassblowing community in the Polish Karkonosze Mountains. The programme in September celebrated the 111 years of stonemason training in Demitz-Thumitz and the continuation of cross-border cooperation.

In summer 2020, a corresponding event will take place in Piechowice. With the participation of GKZ, an accompanying exhibition with natural stone works from Saxony and Poland as well as a "Living Workshop" will be organised as part of the "Crystal Weekend". A specialist programme will illuminate the various aspects of the extraction and processing of stone and glass.

Further information on the Open Granite Village can be found at We also share an introductory video on YouTube

On August 30, 2019, around 20 master craftsmen and the developers of the online learning program met below Schloss Augustusburg to explore with each other the framework conditions under which CNC knowledge could be conveyed in an easy-to-understand and application-oriented way on a PC or laptop.

An animated short introductory film vividly showed the individual learning places and the possible course of events. Mr. Deckert, TU Dresden, presented the individual building blocks of the learning and teaching concept - and then it became quite practical. The participants were able to try out a work task of the online CNC learning program themselves. The focus of the almost three-hour event, however, were the questions of carpenters and stonemasons about the time spent learning, the technical requirements, the availability of the Internet, the ddx drawing program used or the licensing of several devices for learning purposes.

In addition to the open discussion and discussion round, a multi-page questionnaire could also be filled out in order to obtain very clear statements and impulses in the overall evaluation as to which learning contents, in which form and with which technical conditions, could bring the most added value to the skilled trainees.

One thing was already clear this afternoon: It takes this intensive exchange between craft and program developers, so as not to miss the actual learning needs and abilities!

Feel free to contact us with your questions and suggestions: Use the contact form or the project flyer at or take part in one of our exchange meetings (regional conferences). Of course, you can also complete the questionnaire. Every word helps

The project "CNC kompakt online (CompO)" is implemented by the Association of Carpenters Saxony, the State Guild of Stonemasons and Sculptors Saxony, the Chamber of Dresden and the Technical University of Dresden - Psychology of Teaching and Learning as an ESF model project, which is under the project leadership of the Geo Competence Center Freiberg eV started in April 2019.

As a consultant, GKZ is commissioned by the Saxon Ministry of Economic Affairs to design the permanent raw materials exhibition at the Chemnitz Museum of Industry. This will be one of the central exhibition venues of the Saxon State Exhibition "BOOM. 500 years of industrial culture in Saxony enriched by one important aspect: raw materials in our everyday lives and as a basis of industrialization. In close cooperation with the curators of the museum and professional designers, new content, conceptional and didactic paths are taken which supplement the permanent exhibition in a particularly sustainable way and take into account the current needs of sharpening our raw materials awareness. Now that the conceptual stage is complete, the implementation begins, with the exhibit scheduled to be finished by April 2020.

The results can already be seen: raw material themes have been integrated into the objects of the permanent exhibition in accordance with the human needs of communication, mobility and clothing. The redesign will be surprising, as it has committed itself to completely new approaches. Let yourself be surprised!
(This measure will be co-financed by grants on the basis of the budget decided by the members of the Saxon Landtag.)

Under the title "Ensuring SLO is adaptive and resilient", GKZ and the University of Lapland organized the third (and final) SLO stakeholder workshop of the project MIREU - Network of Mining and Metallurgy Regions in EU - in Brussels. The host was the Saxon Liaison Office, which is increasingly dedicated to mining issues and has become an important port of call in the heart of Europe in this regard.

The workshop was divided into the main event and an optional session with KU Leuven. The topics for discussion in the main event included (1) the different view of stakeholders and applicability of SLO at the regional level; (2) understanding how continuing to empower communities could affect the administrative, legislative and political decision-making process; (3) the general negative perception of mining across Europe and if that industry can borrow experiences from other industries, for instance, forestry; (4) examples from different European regions that encourage SLO via a non-binding approach; (5) how SLO is seen outside of Europe and what it means for a European mining industry that is operated by global industrial players; and (6) what should be taken into consideration when developing a SLO guiding framework tailored for Europe.
The two-day workshop showed that the understanding of SLO varies across Europe, and more often than not, SLO is not the term used when addressing acceptance issues at the regional level in Europe. Also of note was the debate around the general trend toward citizen empowerment, for example the climate change movement Friday-for-Future, and the concerns some in the mining industry have as to how far that empowerment could go and therefore the potential for SLO to be used as a veto to stop any development. Two important questions arose “does civil society need to be accountable to anyone?” and how do we reconcile SLO, which is defined as voluntary measures, with current legislation that already gives substantial participation to the public? MIREU partners and stakeholders from both Europe and overseas determined the core drivers of and barriers to SLO fitted in the European context in order to improve SLO’s resilience and adaptiveness.

The SLO measures introduced by different partners and presenters ranged from strategies to raise raw material awareness, to improvements in the educational system, to government changing stakeholders’ perceptions by directly involving stakeholders in (technical) evaluation processes, to companies adopting voluntary-based standards schemas created by governments and /or mining associations, to creating a neutral space for stakeholder communication and the list goes on. (Please see the workshop presentations on the MIREU website for additional information.)