Security of Supply of Mineral Resources

Security of Supply of Mineral Resources (SoS MinErals) is a multi-million pound research programme, backed by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, in partnership with industry and academia, and our global partner FAPESP.

Global action to protect the environment and to mitigate and adapt to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is demanding significant changes in the way we generate and use energy. This initiative focuses on the science needed to sustain the security of supply of the strategic elements that underpin current and future green energy technologies — the so-called 'e-tech elements': cobalt (Co), tellurium (Te), slenium (Se), neodymium (Nd), indium (In), gallium (Ga) and heavy rare earth elements (HREE).

The programme aims to enhance global security of supply of these e-tech elements in two ways; firstly through improved understanding of e-tech element cycling and concentration in natural systems, and secondly by using this information to develop improved recovery processes from primary sources in order to mitigate the environmental effects of extraction and recovery of e-tech elements.

The programme centres on four competitively won projects that directly involve over 50 industrial partners and some 20 plus universities and research organisations. It directly funds 24 postdoctoral research associates and 17 PhD researchers, and seeks to deliver world-leading research — and world-leading scientists — in this emerging area.