The goal of MinFuture is to develop a common methodology to mineral raw material flows at global level, which can be agreed and used at international level. The goal is not to collect data but to support data collectors. Hence this methodology workshop served to discuss how MinFuture could support data collectors, providers and users by:
- mapping the system context;
- providing system definitions;
- defining a database; and
- making data/information gaps explicit.
MinFuture will not solve all problems, but point out existing problems and maybe show some ideas for resolution based on examples (e.g. best practice for collecting national mining data). The workshop pointed out that knowledge about data on material cycles is essential, especially to answer the questions: How are the data generated, refined, aggregated, estimated, calculated or measured? Who are the respective data providers?
Further, data harmonization is one of the biggest challenges. On the one hand, there is a need of an overarching service that harmonizes data; on the other hand official statistic providers need feedback to improve their data and systems. MinFuture will provide a basis to improve the quality of different statistics, achieve a higher degree of differentiation and improve wrong information. In particular, policy-relevant questions that address the systemic nature of material cycles should be included and linked with other materials, with energy use and with emissions.
MinFuture will focus on indicators that capture systemic changes. Indicators are extremely important, but their scope and availability is or can be limited. Hence, there is a need to focus on the system and not only on single indicators. Indicators help to monitor a system, but a system understanding is essential to recognise changes and influence the system dynamic. However, in this context data experts need to understand the system and the data. Different stakeholders (e.g. data producers and data users) need to talk to each other to identify and improve ways of data/information exchange.