Mineral raw materials form the basis for economic development and prosperity. This is especially true in times of changing ecological and social conditions, such as climate change and the energy transition. Research into the formation, extraction and sustainable use of solid, liquid and gaseous raw materials is therefore of the greatest social relevance against the backdrop of mankind's increasing demand for raw materials and growing scarcity of resources.
The influence of mankind on climate change is essentially dependent on the consumption and type of use of resources. The CO2 problem is leading, among other things, to the search for alternatives to carbonate raw materials and products made from them. In the context of the energy transition, the importance of special raw materials (e.g. rare earths, lithium, cobalt, etc.) will increase. The relative share of fossil energy raw materials in energy consumption will decrease. However, oil and natural gas will remain important as bridging technologies and in terms of CO2-neutral use. The changed economic importance of individual raw materials and the supply risk led to the definition of critical/strategic raw materials, whose demand will continue to increase. The concept of sustainability will become increasingly important in the future extraction, processing and efficient use of resources.
Development and application of geophysical methods for the investigation of the Earth's crust (seismics, borehole measurements, petrophysics including (palaeo-) magnetics).
Deposit formation in a regional and geodynamic framework
Mining and tunnelling, with a special focus on new resource- and energy-efficient technologies, the digitalisation of processes, the development of new mining methods, geotechnics, and equipment and safety technology for the construction and operation of underground facilities. The Centre on the Mountain (ZaB) is a large-scale research laboratory that is unique in Europe.
Raw material analysis, suitability of raw materials and requirements for them and the products made from them for the development and optimisation of process sequences
Refinement technologies for the innovative use of raw materials
Development of the scientific basis for raw material certification to label products made from raw materials obtained and traded in compliance with minimum ethical standards.
Digitalisation of core processes
Securing the energy supply through:
Researching the formation and sustainable use of hydrocarbon reservoirs, with particular emphasis on cost-effective drilling methods and increasing the use of reservoirs.
Use of geothermal energy.
Use of the underground for the storage of hydrogen, hydrogen-based raw materials, CO2 and heat. This requires the use of synergies through intensified cross-disciplinary cooperation of the raw materials sector with areas of process engineering, materials, etc.