The world is changing at break-neck speed and the challenges the world’s population is facing are increasing in numbers and complexity. The world needs to generate more and more natural resources to meet the growing demand of countries and their people, who demand increasing levels of wellbeing. Moreover, the population rightly demands this continuous development to take place with a stronger environmental focus, the highest standards of safety for producers and always keeping in mind that we cannot compromise future development to strengthen the present one. The 14th Congress on Energy and Mineral Resources, to be held in Seville in April 2018, will be therefore the most exciting ever; its organizers have conceived diverse thematic areas to address aspects ranging from mineral exploration to energy efficiency, including the use of new materials and the analysis of new technologies for the use of non-conventional water resources, to mention only a few examples of the interesting themes this congress will offer to participants.

 

President: Javier Vega de Seoane

Vice-President: Miguel Ángel Paradinas Márquez

AREA 1

EXPLORATION AND EXTRACTION OF MINERAL RESOURCES. RELATION TO THE TERRITORY

Over the last few years, we have gone from considering mining as an activity affecting only the limited area where it was located to expanding the scope of its relations to its general environment, not just close or even specific, but sometimes also diffuse. Therefore, nowadays we must speak of extraction of mineral, energy or water raw materials in terms of their broad relations to the territory.

In this context, society faces the need of meeting the growing demand of raw materials, and of course, water and energy, in a global scenario that is increasingly fragile and unpredictable and where demands are usually contradictory and disorganized.

The main challenges we are facing are:

  • Guaranteeing supply. Citizens may demand maximum guarantees and the use of less aggressive techniques, and we might have to accept compromises; however, what we as citizens will not accept is that demands – growing day after day – are not met.
  • Sustainability. Not only must we meet the growing demand, we must meet it without compromising the resources needed by future generations.
  • Competitiveness. Exploration and extraction techniques and the processes to obtain resources, as well as storage, distribution, use and waste management technologies must gain efficiency and performance to allow for competitive costs. There is no doubt than new materials and the circular economy will make a crucial contribution to this process.
  • Redressing imbalances. We are experiencing one of the greatest global turmoil events in the last seventy years, with results that are –at best- uncertain. This does not mean that there were no conflicts in the past, but the severe and important crises of past decades were of a regional nature. Migrations –with their complex causes- are a global process that add tension and feed the major uncertainties in the formerly called Western or developed world.
In view of this panorama, the Congress promises to be not only exciting, but also showing a great level of commitment. Certainly, speakers and participants will deliver on the level of the challenges posed.

 

Area Chairperson: Juan Ramón García Secades

AREA 2

RAW MATERIALS AND THEIR PROCESSING

To be useful for humans, raw materials need to be processed and transformed into commodities that in turn, will be processed into elements that humans can use. This applies both to energy raw materials and to metals and industrial rocks.

As in many other fields, the technologies used in the processing and transformation of raw materials are constantly evolving and with several simultaneous goals. First, to achieve the best safety and health conditions for the people working in industrial processes, as well as for the population living in the close proximity of the relevant industrial facilities. Second, to achieve the maximum quality levels in the final products raw materials will be processed into, taking into account the more demanding standards required for the use of such products in our global world. Third, to achieve a high level of economic efficiency, i.e. reducing processing costs and increase the amount of elements recovered in the raw materials to be processed. In this area, it is necessary to underline energy efficiency, which, if successfully achieved, will meet two of the above priorities.

The 14th Congress on Energy and Mineral Resources will highlight and present the most recent trends in raw material processing and transformation, addressing aspects such as quality, production economy, environmental performance and energy efficiency, and will also discuss and analyze the growing use of new materials that the progress of humankind requires.

Circular economy will receive at the congress the attention that this new global trend involving attitudes, procedures and processes deserves in our present world.

 

Area Chairperson: Javier Targhetta Roza

AREA 3

ENERGY    

The world’s energy model is under pressure because of growing demand, dependence from limited fossil resources, frequently located in politically unstable areas, and the impact of energy use on climate change. It is therefore increasingly necessary to focus on competitiveness, security of supply and environmental sustainability.

In order to reduce energy dependence and to achieve an effective containment of CO2 emissions it is necessary to use all available technologies, especially low-emission ones, leaving any prejudgemental concepts or exclusions aside. In this line, Spain has made a strong investment in renewable energies, contributing to reducing their cost and they have acquired an important role in our industrial fabric.

Energy from fossil fuels plays today a decisive role in transportation, and gas and coal are very needed in electric power production due to their competitive prices and the flexibility they provide. In particular, coal is the fossil fuel with the largest and most evenly distributed reserves in the world; and therefore, it should keep its contribution to security of supply, and we should overcome its current environmental problems by means of innovation. In turn, gas is a key fuel for energy transition.

The discussion reassessing the merits of nuclear power for electricity production without CO2 emissions is reviving at international level in the face of the growing impact of the environmental dimension on business investment decisions. However, we must make decisions on nuclear waste management and the financing of new nuclear plants, which require strong investments and long constructions times.

Large-scale energy storage poses a technological challenge, especially for the electric power industry. If it is successfully tackled, we will be able to maximize the integration of renewables and provide greater efficiency and security to the system as a whole.

 

Area Chairperson: José Luis del Valle Doblado

AREA 4

WATER

The Congress on Energy and Mineral Resources, well aware of the importance of water as a natural resource with a great social, economic, environmental and heritage value, has incorporated into its activities in the AREA 4 (Water) some of the guidelines set forth in the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC on water policy, which has been transposed into Spanish Law. The directive establishes the general principles in the protection of inland surface waters an groundwater, promoting its sustainable use, based on the long-term protection of water resources and water ecosystems, identifying water footprint of the different production sectors, its circular economy, as well as energy efficiency and measures to mitigate the impact of climate change on this resource. It requires governmental authorities to draft water management plans for all river basins to achieve these objectives. Moreover, the proposals for the 2016-2021 are currently under development to incorporate the fundamental principles of the 2020 European Strategy translated into the Horizon 2020 Action Plan, in which water plays a major cross-sectional role to achieve the development objectives of the European society. Furthermore, it is one of the 17 Sustainable Development goals established by the UN in its 2030 agenda.

 

Area Chairperson: Juan Antonio Lopez Geta

AREA 5

MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

In the past two decades, legislative developments and voluntary management standards have been essential tools for ongoing improvement of strategic business elements such as Quality, Environmental Performance, Energy Efficiency Improvement, Occupational Risk Prevention and Social Responsibility.

All these elements have helped to manage organizations better and therefore, to make them more efficient, making a crucial contribution to their survival in the market.

Now, the Sustainable Mining and Metallurgical Management system opens the path to overcome one of the main obstacles faced by the mining industry, which is demonstrating to third parties that the initial project, the operation and the closure of a mine will fulfill the indicators that make up the Sustainable Mining and Metallurgical Management System. This is starting to be acknowledged by the different governmental institutions and one of the expected benefits is to be able to proof to society that mining operations are sustainable.

Proof of sustainability of the Energy and Natural Resources industries has already become a key element in carrying out this activity, and it will be even more relevant in the future.

Speakers in this area of the International Congress on Energy and Mineral Resources will address in their presentations the current situation, new developments and applications, and the future projection of these tools.

 

Area Chairperson: José Luis Tejera Oliver