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.