Aimed at developing a common framework to analyse global mineral raw material flows, which can be agreed and used at international level, the MinFuture project intends to support data collectors, providers and users. Improving knowledge and quality of data on material cycles was found to be essential, but is faced with challenges such as interrupted information flows or lacking data availability. The first MinFuture Workshop (‘Methodology workshop’) served to discuss how MinFuture could support key data providers and users.
In the MinFuture project we aim to integrate four core dimensions, (1) Stages (2) Trade (3) Linkages (4) Time.
(1) Stages: Stages represent the various transformation steps that materials go through during their lifetime, including mining, material production, manufacturing of products, their use, and end-of-life management. These principle stages can be analyzed either at an aggregate level or the stages can be refined using a variety of sub-processes. A material cycle is constructed by combining the different stages together and illustrating the flows and stocks of material.
(2) Trade: Trade represents the exchange of all goods along the supply chain (between all stages) among countries or regions. Material cycles can be constructed by either showing the trade between a country and the rest of the world, or with individual other countries.
(3) Layers (or linkages) explore the interactions and changing characteristics of materials across their lifecycle. Material flow layers may explore for instance interlinkages between goods, components, materials, chemical elements, as well as energy or value.
(4) Time refers to the possibility to track material flows over time, for example the measurement of historical stocks and flows or the exploration of future stocks and flows of materials by use of scenarios.
The purpose of this workshop was to initiate a dialogue with key stakeholders that report raw materials data, use data to develop MFA models, or use MFA models to inform decision making. The knowledge and needs of data providers, users and decision actors are different, but in order for a ‘common approach’ to be developed their input is required.
The brief presents key discussion items and main findings from the June 2017 Workshop in Vienna. In order to tackle challenges such as insufficient information flows or lacking data availability, a (more) systemic understanding of global mineral raw material flows is needed. Mapping the system context and making data/information gaps explicit will help identifying possible improvements.