Background

BACKGROUND

In the context of globalization and fierce competition in commodity markets, the strategic value of the mining industry continues to grow. This increased demand and a sharp rise in prices has created good prospects for the recovery of the mining industry in Portugal.

This new view of the sector of mineral resources, which reverses the trend witnessed over the last decade largely based on the generalization of “abundance” of resources, appears, too, to have been reflected within the European Union (EU), as confirmed by communication no 699 of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – “Raw Materials” Initiative – of 4 November 2008, which warned of the risks to the European supply of certain non-energy raw materials. This strategic position for Europe was again reaffirmed by means of the communication of the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, in February 2011, entitled “Tackling the Challenges in Commodities Markets and on Raw Materials”, in which the principle of access to basic raw materials is extended to the energy sector and to foodstuffs.

The EU is highly dependent on imports of raw materials of strategic importance, which are increasingly affected by market distortions and, in particular, “high-tech” metals, such as cobalt, platinum, rare earth metals, tantalum and niobium. Though very often needed only in tiny quantities, these metals are increasingly essential to the development of technologically sophisticated products due to their growing number of features. Without these high-tech metals, the EU will not be able to master the shift towards sustainable production and environmental-friendly products.

In this regard, it is important, as is widely recognized, that the EU should not lose the opportunity to make better use of its domestic capabilities and put in place a secure supply strategy in Third Countries.

As part of its mission, EDM, SA is in a position to contribute towards Portugal following this trend and adopts a strategy aimed at taking advantage of and exploiting mineral raw materials. Indeed, among others, the mission attributes the following remit:

  • To design and execute, on its own initiative or via “joint ventures”, projects for the prospection, research, evaluation and exploitation of geological resources from the “Resource Base” corresponding to national territory, taking into account its high geological and mining potential;
  • To conduct studies and provide services in the fields of earth sciences, engineering sciences, energy and the environment, as well as cooperate with other entities, at home or abroad, in research projects of common interest;
  • To serve as an instrument of the Government in relation to specialized technical advice and strategic interventions in the geological and mining domain, at home and abroad.
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