»Den virkelige oppdagelsesreisen går ikke på å
lete etter nye land, men å se nye øyne«
The real voyage of discovery does not strive to new country,
but afterwards, seeing things with new eyes. (Norwegian Saying)
Europe has a long history of natural resource use. However, in Europe, production requires a far more preparatory work from investors, including environmental and social impact assessments, public consultation, exploration regulation compliance and mine planning, than in other parts of the world. This preparation has to be pre-financed. To keep projects profitable, cost savings must be generated. This starts in the early stages of exploration projects, to quickly and reliably locate orebodies, to reduce risk involved in selecting drilling locations for that very cost-intensive phase of exploration. It is in this pre-drilling step that GREENPEG comes into play: decreasing exploration costs by use of a modular sequence of optimized exploration methods from ground, air and space-based information. Furthermore, GREENPEG results enable emissions to be reduced and thus requirements for fulfilling the legal requirements of the ESIA to be met better, which in turn can lead to more acceptance among those affected. GREENPEG helps to see things with new eyes, in the field and in cash!
Read more about pegmatite-bound commodities for the digitalization and energy transition below: high purity quartz and lithium in optics, fibres, semiconductor, solar and e-mobility.
Optics and fibres
Fibre optic cables are flexible, transparent fibres made of pure silica glass, not much thicker than a human hair. They are essential for the advancement of high speed internet infrastructure, which is required for the continued growth of connectivity. The fibre optic cables are constructed with a transparent core surrounded by transparent cladding material, which has a lower index of refraction. The cladding of the optical fibre is made of ultra-high-purity natural quartz.
Semiconductors are powering everything from your computer to your smart speaker to your car. Silicon-based semiconductors are etched onto large wafers. Companies slice these large wafers from ingots grown in Czochralski crucibles, much like ingots for the solar industry. The semiconductor market relies on the highest purity quartz. Ultra high purity quartz sand with minimal impurities ensures that the wafers remain as pure as possible for ideal electrical conductivity.
Solar energy is fueling the energy transition, however subject to an enormous global run on raising efficiency and reducing the costs and thus to maintain competitiveness of regional value chains. The monocrystalline solar market is currently booming, and overtook multicrystalline technology in terms of market share in 2019. High purity quartz stands at the beginning of the value chain and needed for crucibles (to grow the silicon mono-crystal) and pure glassware of the solar panels.
The EC Critical materials for strategic technologies and sectors in the EU foresight study highlights a number of GREENPEG target commodities with supply bottlenecks along the value chain. Concerning batteries for E-Mobility China is the major supplier of anode materials, such as Lithium Cobaltoxide processed materials, while Japan is the key supplier of NCA (Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide) cathode material. The EU is fully dependent on anode materials and NCA cathode material supply. In the long-term the EU demand for lithium will be 10-50 times higher than the EU 2018 demand in all applications, depending on the considered uptake of electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. The EC´s Strategic Action Plan on Batteries lies down a comprehensive strategy to enhance the EU battery value chain stages. The study recommends, that the EU position could be further strengthened by Improving manufacturing opportunities in the EU: Increase mining, extraction and refining in the EU for key raw materials and processed materials.