Category: News

The RESILEX project lights the energy sector from Castilla y León.

The city of Valladolid hosts the Energy Forum, a meeting of experts that will analyse on April 10, the present and future challenges of the energy transition in Spain as well as the industry’s strategies to face this new scenario.
The event has been organized by the newspaper El Español and will be attended, among others, by Juan-Carlos Suárez Quiñones, Minister of the Environment, Housing and Territory of the Government of Castilla y León.
For its part, the Iberian Cluster for Sustainable Mining ISMC, together with the International Center for Advanced Materials and Raw Materials ICAMCYL, both institutions based in our region, coordinate a thematic table that will relate the importance of raw materials to the challenges of energy transition and the objectives for a sustainable and resilient Europe in its industrial innovation ecosystems.
The table, which will have an international focus in the context of the European RESILEX project, will feature experts such as Santiago Cuesta López, general director of ICAMCYL and CEO of the ISMC cluster, Rafael López Guijarro, Director of Geological projects at Technology Minerals Europe and Francisco J. Luque Ruiz, coordinator of the RESILEX project and expert in water and the environment, will discuss the advances and contributions that Castilla y León is making to cover the European needs for key resources for photovoltaic solar energy, its storage, and management.

That is why the RESILEX project (Resilient Enhancement for the Silicon Industry Leveraging the European Matrix), financed with more than 10 million euros by the Horizon Europe program of the European Commission, will be the undisputed protagonist in this prestigious forum. Cuesta López points out that, “silicon, as a critical material, plays a fundamental role in numerous strategic applications of renewable energy, from new models of storage technology and solar panels, in addition to being a key piece in the consolidation of energy plans. Valleys of microchips that both the European Union and Spain have in mind.” Furthermore, “as far as critical raw materials are concerned, Castilla y León currently has enormous potential to supply Europe with the materials that will be cornerstones in the construction of these strategic industrial Valleys,” he highlights.
Specifically, RESILEX aims to demonstrate eight innovative industry-driven technological and business solutions, spanning the entire silicon value chain. “These solutions include reducing the EU’s dependence on imports of silicon and other critical materials associated with the solar photovoltaic value chain, which will be achieved through innovation and the development of a new, much more efficient production process with low emissions of carbon, in addition to ensuring a high degree of recyclability of the panels produced that will be recovered for the manufacture of components in lithium-ion battery technology,” explains Luque Ruiz.
RESILEX innovative approach and sustainable practices set an exemplary standard for the industry to follow.

Mining sector promotes new business opportunities for the economic development of Spain and Morocco.

Marrakech has hosted the Morocco-Spain Mining Forum, a bilateral meeting around the European Union Raw Materials Alliance in Morocco. From October 30 to November 2, more than 60 representatives of the mining sector met in the Moroccan red city, with the aim of strengthening commercial relations between both countries and sharing their experiences.

Four days that are the result of the collaboration of prominent organizations: the Federation of the Moroccan Mining Industry (FDIM), the Association of Research Companies, Extractors, Mining-Metallurgical Transformers, Auxiliary and Services (AMINER), the Business Agency for Economic Transformation and Development (Andalucía TRADE), the Iberian Sustainable Mining Cluster (ISMC), the International Center for Raw Materials and Advanced Materials of Castilla y León (ICAMCYL) and the MINE.THE.GAP project, financed by the European Commission within the framework of the Horizon 2020 call.

From the warm official and institutional welcome to the interventions of the organizers, the first days were focused on the knowledge and experiences exchange. Thus, during the welcome event, Santiago Cuesta-López, executive general director of the ISMC Cluster and the Foundation ICAMCyL indicated that “we have a social and environmental responsibility in ensuring the supply of raw materials in a sustainable manner to Europe and its industry, strategic alliances with producing countries neighbouring the EU such as Morocco are going to be the key to meeting the objectives of the EU critical raw materials act.

Marta Cerati, executive manager of AMINER, highlighted the importance that “administrations and the business community can go hand in hand to increase the dimensions and potential of future mining projects in our countries.” Specifically, Cerati has highlighted the role of women in mining both in Spain and Morocco, where “they make up more than 50% of the students in engineering and almost half of the middle management in the mines.”

On the other hand, the second part of this meeting focused on technical field visits such as, for example, the one carried out in Draa Sfar, an underground mine in operation for Pb-Zn-Cu and the research center, both belonging to the group Managem.

This forum has constituted a unique opportunity to strengthen cooperation and promote synergies between Morocco and Spain in the mining field, contributing to the sustainable growth of both nations and the promotion of responsible mining, facilitating commercial meetings and relations between Moroccan companies and Spanish present.

“We closed the mission to Morocco with a very significant cooperation agreement, fully aligned with the objectives of the European Commission in the context of the European Pact for Critical Raw Materials. Morocco leads the world in phosphate reserves. We have seen first-hand that it has great potential in other resources such as Cobalt, essential to fulfil the EU plans to create Gigafactories for batteries. We expect strategic cooperation in the immediate future, both within the framework of our companies and in the context of specific projects of the Horizon Europe program for the scaling of sustainable mining technologies,” highlighted Santiago Cuesta-López.

Check the news:

Marrakech a abrité le premier Forum minier Maroc-Espagne (

España y Marruecos refuerzan sus relaciones comerciales para el impulso del sector minero – Forbes España

España y Marruecos refuerzan sus relaciones comerciales para el impulso del sector minero (

AMINER | Profesionales del sector minero promueven nuevas oportunidades de negocio para el desarrollo económico de España y Marruecos

If you want to know more about this important international meeting, please, download the press releases:

Nota de prensa previa al evento

Nota de prensa post-evento

ISMC participates in the “EU INDUSTRY DAYS 2023” promoting innovation valleys

ISMC participates in the European Industry Days 2023, which this year will be held in Malaga between 4 and 6 October and will be attended by such relevant personalities as Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission; or Maive Rute, Deputy Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission, who will also be in charge of opening the event.
It is Europe’s annual flagship event that focuses on key industrial policy debates, connects industrial pioneers and boosts the knowledge base of European industry. The cluster’s CEO and technology expert, Santiago Cuesta López, will bring to the table the cluster’s experience in creating innovation valleys in what is intended to be “an open forum to discuss industrial challenges and co-create solutions and policy responses in an inclusive dialogue with a wide range of partners from industry, EU countries, civil society organisations, universities and citizens” explained Cuesta López.

In particular, Cuesta López, will participate in a session under the title “From regional innovation valleys to new EU value chains” where he will highlight his strategy for raw material sustainability focused on circular industrial economy and digitalisation, “as part of a cluster-led plan to connect regions, generating a network of highly specialised raw material innovation valleys, with a strengthened industry and no supply bottlenecks. A resilient Europe in which local industrial actors can achieve green and digital transition, strong value chains and strategic autonomy,” he detailed. Proof of this is the new BATMASS project, which has been promoted by ISMC for the creation of the first battery supply valley in Europe and whose funding amounts to 10 million euros through the European Commission’s interregional innovation investment tool “I3”.

All the information about the event HERE #EUID23

BATMASS, the first European battery supply valley will receive 10 million euros in funding

With 900 million electric vehicles expected by 2040, the European Union will have to increase its supply 19-fold in the next decade alone. To alleviate the pressure on the battery supply chain, the national cluster of raw materials and sustainable mining (ISMC), based in the Technological Park of León, is one of the precursors of the project “EU circular BATtery Valley for second life, recycling, and re-manufacturing of materials and black MASS: BATMASS” whose funding, through the European Commission’s instrument “I3” or Interregional Innovation Investments, amounts to €9,765,017.65 for its initial 30-month implementation. The aim is to “stop the dependence on foreign sources of essential raw materials (lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel, graphite, etc.), as we only produce 1% of the total raw materials for batteries. These materials are often extracted under questionable socio-environmental conditions and expose the EU to price volatility and limited sovereignty. Circularity is the solution,” underlined the cluster’s CEO and technology expert Santiago Cuesta López.

However, currently, only 10% of battery materials are recovered and only 1-3% of lithium is recovered worldwide, so “new processes and technologies are required, as well as a portfolio of interregional investments in TRL6+ innovations and circular processes for raw materials,” explained Cuesta López, since, “this interregional ecosystem is integrated around four demonstrators and will scale up, commercialise and deploy innovative green technologies. Another of the objectives is to generate income after the initial phase, in addition to joining forces for European recovery. BATMASS will save 59,000 tonnes of precursor materials and contribute to achieving the EU’s strategic objectives on resilience and the environment,” he said.

The BATMASS project consortium is made up of 22 entities from Spain, France, Italy and Slovenia, which have joined forces in the creation of this international network for battery recycling and the implementation of industrial pilots, and whose ambition is to establish a circular battery economy throughout the southern axis of Europe. The role of ISMC in the creation of this network has been, and is, paramount, facilitating international cooperation, industrial development and the transfer of innovation to industry, “the cluster thus contributes to its objectives of sustainability and modernisation of industry in the field of clean energy, leading innovation projects in materials and technologies for the recycling of raw materials in industrial value chains as relevant to European society as electromobility and stationary energy storage”, explained Cuesta López.

Leading the European cooperation on supply for the battery programme

ISMC is a major player in the European battery recycling valley and contributes to ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials to the industry.

Thus, at a “critical” time when raw materials are not only essential for the production of a wide range of goods and services used in everyday life, but also for the development of emerging and globally competitive technologies, Santiago Cuesta López, Director General of ISMC underlines that “advanced materials are one of the key enabling technologies identified as a priority for EU industrial policy, as they will ensure access to raw materials and support the manufacturing and recycling of products and services used in everyday life. The EU’s industrial policy priorities, as they will ensure access to raw materials and support the manufacture and recycling of batteries”.

ISMC takes over the coordination, at European level, of the sustainable raw material supply pilot for the European battery value chain from Cuesta Lopez. This is an essential pillar within the interregional platform of advanced materials for batteries (S3P Platform – AMBP) and a milestone in the internationalisation of the cluster and the regions of Castilla y León and Andalusia.
The aim is to create an international network of battery recycling valleys to ensure the implementation of industrial pilots aimed at implementing the circular economy of batteries throughout the southern axis of Europe.

Visit La Nueva Crónica de León to read the full article in the specialised Technology magazine.


New Open Call for SMEs within I4-GREEN project

ISMC is a partner of the I4GREEN project whose mission is to boost EU interregional collaboration.

I4-GREEN unleashes the green innovation power of EU Interregional Ecosystems, reducing EU dependence on imports of Critical Raw Materials and the negative impact on the environment of their mining process.

I4-GREEN will provide financial support and services to up to 15 SMEs deploying new products, processes and/or technical services into the IHO pilot (Iron Holm Oak – PILOT 1, located in Extremadura, Spain) and E-LIX pilot (PILOT 2, located in Andalusia, Spain).

The Open Call contains all the documents needed for understanding: the Call conditions (Call announcement, Guide for applicants & FAQ) and all documents for submitting your proposal (Application template & Supporting documents for application).

The final goal is to promote technology transfer, services, and products into targeted sectorial SMEs and to boost cluster collaboration tools involving business services and financial support to SMEs in the ecosystem.

I4-GREEN is closely collaborating with the project MINE.THE.GAP, which provides the digital platform to submit applications for the I4-GREEN Open Call.

Submit your proposal until 15th September 2023, 17:00 CET.

Visit the project website for more information.



GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2023 / ISMC leads European raw materials emergency

ISMC closed this week the first stage of activities in 2023, and continues its unstoppable growth, already affiliating more than 55 companies along the entire mining and raw materials value chain. The entity continues its growth with the opening of new offices in cities such as Seville and Murcia, from where they intend to reach more Spanish SMEs working in the value chain of raw materials, “with the clear objective that Spain becomes the European reference for the sustainable supply of critical raw materials,” said Santiago Cuesta López, director of the cluster.

The association held its ordinary General Assembly in Madrid on 15 June, where it presented the results of the last year’s fundraising and innovation bonds, as well as the projects and initiatives that are on the way, “our goal is to consolidate an ecosystem of companies relevant to the mining sector and its associated services at national level, that accelerates the transition towards a new innovative and sustainable industry, with international projection and with the capacity to ensure the European supply of raw materials that will shape the technologies of the future”, underlined the technologist who has managed to attract 3 million Euros to León, and almost another 5 million that will mainly benefit companies from León and Andalusia. The funds will be allocated to regional, national and international innovation projects, within the prestigious Horizon Europe programme, and all of them will be coordinated and promoted from the innovation procurement office that the national raw materials cluster has in the León Technology Park. “We are closing a very beneficial year for the consolidation of the cluster. We have achieved a strong European presence and attracted international funding of close to 3 million euros, which positions us as a benchmark in supporting innovation and boosting business. We continue to grow exponentially to consolidate mining territories and regions together and thanks to all the companies that trust us by joining the cluster” explained Cuesta López.

Cuesta and his team have positioned the cluster in the most important European social development circles in 2022 as well as in the most relevant international dialogue tables for the “European Pact” for raw materials promoted by Ursula Von der Leyen.

ISMC will play a key role in the XV International Congress on Energy and Mineral Resources, to be held in León from 22 – 24 November this year, and will organise during October, together with the metal mining association AMINER, a high-level trade mission to Morocco to find synergies and opportunities for mining exploitation and services for companies from León.

The National Raw Materials Cluster is already a priority actor in the European Union, having established strong links with the European Commission and its Directorates-General for Growth and Industry, Environment and Regions, as well as its European Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), the European Agency for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), the European Institute of Technology for Raw Materials (EITM), the European Institute for Mining and Metals Technology (EITM), the European Commission and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Industry and Entrepreneurship (DG Environment), as well as the European Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), the European Institute of Technology for Raw Materials (EIT Raw Materials) and the European Smart Specialisation Platforms (S3P), in particular the one dedicated to the mining industry and its associated value chains as well as coordinating at European level the sustainable raw material supply pilot for the battery value chain (S3P Platform – AMBP).

At a critical time when raw materials are not only essential for the production of a wide range of goods and services used in everyday life, but also for the development of emerging and globally competitive technologies, “the work of the cluster is more than necessary to ensure access to a stable supply of many raw materials as it is a major challenge for national and regional economies with limited production, such as the EU economy, which is dependent on imports of many minerals and metals needed for industry”, concluded Cuesta López.

The ISMC cluster has, in the last year, demonstrated the relevance of its role in driving the green economy and sustainability in the field of raw materials. Through the European mechanisms of cascade financing and innovation bonds, it has provided 13 Spanish companies with the necessary economic resources to implement sustainability, environmental protection or circular economy measures. In addition, several companies from León have benefited from the cluster’s activity, including Pizarras la Baña, Pizarras Matacouta and IPC Control, which are already implementing digitalisation processes and digital twins in their operations, thus reducing their energy consumption and environmental impact.

ISMC opens debate on Europe’s raw materials future and energy transition in Madrid

The Iberian Sustainable Mining Cluster (ISMC), through the MINE.THE.GAP H2020 project funded by the European Union, is organising an investment event in raw materials on 1 June at the Hotel Emperador in Madrid, coordinated by its director general, Santiago Cuesta López, who will be accompanied by senior European officials such as Madalina Ivanica, Deputy Director in the unit of the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission.

The event “European investment forum for raw materials” aims to find solutions and business and institutional synergies that serve as a basis for solving the problem of supply of critical raw materials to European industry. To this end, it will hold a series of sessions where global investment experts will present the barriers that mining projects frequently face, providing lessons learned from around the world that the European Union may have the opportunity to apply.

The conference will be divided into three areas that will revolve around the value chain of raw materials, strategic resources and the agents involved as vital elements for the transformation of the sector, “as a starting point, the global framework and the outlook for the sector, analysing investment mechanisms, and in a second session, various round tables on the keys to geopolitics, raw materials and technological dependence”, explained Cuesta López.

The importance of geopolitics and the international context will be a key point on the agenda, where experts from the Ministry of Defence and international figures such as Sebastián Contín of AsiaGlobal Fellow – the University of Hong Kong and Brian Wong will debate, moderated by Jesús Morales, journalist and deputy director of 20MINUTOS.

In addition, a round table will be held to present success stories in the implementation and development of raw materials projects worldwide and to present the latest technologies applied to the extraction of raw materials in a sustainable way, by leading companies such as Técnicas Reunidas, Silver-X, Minas de Alquife and the Federation of Mining Companies of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Finally, there will be a session on business opportunities and synergies between investors and leading technology-based companies, “presenting cutting-edge projects that are fundamental for a transition towards digital and sustainable mining in Europe and worldwide”, said Cuesta López. In addition, “the political barriers and institutional investment mechanisms that can facilitate the acquisition of advanced cutting-edge technologies in a sector that will be strategic for the EU economy in the coming years should be analysed”, he stressed.

The day will end with the presentation of products and services from international SMEs highly specialised in sustainable mining technologies, which will be made available to companies and investors.

This raw materials investment forum is presented as an essential meeting for dialogue in which a “joint model will be proposed to halt the international energy and raw materials crisis, which requires urgent and sustainable solutions, focusing strategically on industry and the technological system”, said Cuesta López.

ISMC holds Innovation Summit with experts and leading companies from all over Spain

Under the title “Spring Raw Materials Innovation Summit”, Santiago Cuesta López, general director of the ISMC cluster, led this first conference of the 2023, in which in addition to “attracting experts and leading companies to the province, we presented new opportunities for European growth towards sustainable mining”.

During the conference, the relative progress of some of the international reference projects in which the ISMC projects in which the cluster is involved. Projects such as RESILEX, C-SINK, S34I and MADITRACE, leading in the generation of technologies that facilitate the mining of strategic resources with a low environmental impact, which together environmental impact, which together mobilise a total of more than 40 million euros, where León will be an essential axis.

The structure of the day facilitated the creation of a space for strategic dialogue between the attendees, with the aim of activating and boosting the mining sector and its associated services, from the regions to Europe. Through the European Essential Raw Materials Act, a key European initiative consolidated in March 2023, the framework has been established to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of essential raw materials” commented Cuesta López during one of his speeches, “and this is where the cluster comes in, acting as a catalyst among sector leaders to ensure secure and sustainable supply chains for the green and digital future of the European Union”.

During the conference, the urgency of Europe’s dependence on imports, often from quasi-monopolistic third-party suppliers, was highlighted. often from quasi-monopolistic suppliers in third countries, and Cuesta López underlined that “we need to mitigate the We need to mitigate the supply risks related to these strategic dependencies to improve Europe’s economic resilience. to improve Europe’s economic resilience, as evidenced by the shortages following the Covid-19-19 conflict. shortages after the Covid-19 conflict and the energy crisis after the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

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