Masterplan Raw Materials 2030
The Master Plan Raw Materials 2030 proposes solutions to respond to the challenges of this decade and to ensure Austria's secure supply of primary and secondary mineral raw materials from Austria and abroad. With a comprehensive package of measures, the Master Plan lays the foundation for Austria's resilient development.
The sufficient and responsible supply of mineral resources at fair market conditions is an indispensable basis for a successful economy. Innovative key technologies, which are intended to secure our future viability and contribute to solving the major challenges in areas like climate and energy, but also health, nutrition, mobility, digitalisation, security or communication, can only be implemented with a sufficient supply of sustainably produced primary and secondary raw materials.
Although the geological availability of raw materials is relatively high, disruptions due to geopolitical, economic or circumstances such as pandemics or natural disasters can lead to a shortage of mineral resources. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic relentlessly shows the vulnerability in a globalised world with complex dependencies and widely ramified value chains. It reveals questions about the security of supply for products of daily use, but also for basic materials that are urgently needed for the processing industry. The transformation of energy systems, mobility and the decarbonisation of industry is closely linked to the availability of mineral raw materials.
The Masterplan Raw Materials 2030 is oriented along the entire material value chain. It addresses aggregates, fossil fuels, industrial minerals and metals. It pursues the following goals:
- A responsible and secure supply of primary and secondary raw materials.
- To secure Austria as a business location in order to remain competitive on an international level, to strengthen domestic value creation and to further enable prosperity and a high quality of life.
- The balanced, sustainable, efficient and careful use of raw materials within the framework of a circular economy.
- In order to reduce future supply risks, the strengthening of the resilience of the raw materials sector along value chains.
- Creating framework conditions for the expansion of the extraction of secondary raw materials from recyclable products.
- The promotion of research, technological development and innovation within the framework of funding programmes.
- The further development of Austria's high standards.
- The strengthening of social and ecological standards of corporate responsibility, especially in the mining countries.
The Masterplan Raw Materials 2030 is designed upon three pillars, which are accompanied by cross-cutting themes such as acceptance and sustainability, digitalisation, research and development, education and training, as well as foresight policy.
Mineral deposits are the results of natural geological formation processes. Raw materials can only be extracted where natural processes have formed them. Unhindered and long-term access to locally available deposits is indispensable. However, an orderly land use management is subject to multiple interests of competing claims. Sourcing locally available raw materials is ecologically and economically advantageous due to shorter transport distances. Short transport distances and optimised transport services contribute to the achievement of climate goals due to reduced emissions.
Austria’s as well as Europe’s minerals potential is by far not exhausted and is assessed as under-explored. Exploration of deposits is associated with a high risk of success and, together with mining, is capital-intensive. Various reasons are responsible for the fact that the willingness to invest in the exploration of European deposits and in their mining exploitation is below average in a global comparison. In order to strengthen resilience, the establishment of suitable financing instruments aimed at improving the security of supply of mineral raw materials must be advanced. Strengthened domestic production will secure value-creation, jobs, if possible avoid imports, and thus dependencies and the high EU environmental standards will prevent a shift of environmental burdens to other producer countries often with lower standards.
A growing global demand for raw materials is confronted with complex geopolitical, geo-economic, environmental and climate policy changes. In order to reduce import dependencies and thus contribute to the resistance of Austria as a business location, a transition to an integrated circular economy is crucial. In this context, particular importance must be attached to its principles: Through innovation, the use of materials can be reduced, products can be reused due to a durable design and they can be reconditioned and repaired more easily. The reintegration of a product or production residue into the raw material cycle depends largely on its material properties and its design (design for recycling).
The lack of awareness that prosperity is based on materiality sometimes leads to a lack of acceptance of mining and secondary raw material extraction. The connections between sustainable domestic raw material production, regional value creation and the availability of a multitude of everyday products, infrastructure and technologies must be presented more effectively.
Due to fast-moving technological developments and the constantly changing technical requirements, intelligent and innovative solutions in digitalisation and automation are needed. Research, development and implementation of new processes and technologies for digitalisation and a digital, holistic raw material extraction process are the key to global competitive advantages. This ranges from exploration, raw material characterisation, deposit modelling, mining planning, and selective extraction of valuable minerals, sensor-based sorting to the “intelligent” preparation and processing of all valuable minerals from primary and secondary deposits.
With a comprehensive package of future actions, the Masterplan Raw Materials 2030 provides solutions to the challenges of this decade and ensures the responsible and secure supply of Austria with primary and secondary mineral raw materials.
Masterplan (PDF, 3 MB) (in German)