Please introduce yourself first and tell us about your background, areas of expertise, and your position in your institution.

I have a PhD in Chemical Engineering specializing in Environmental Management Technology. Since 2004 I have been Head of the R&D Management Department and the Office for the Transfer of Research Results of the Marble, Stone, and Materials Technology Center.

In the last ten years, I have coordinated and managed several projects at the regional, national, and international levels on topics such as circular economy, biodiversity, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, and advanced manufacturing.

What is your role in Rotate as an organization and as an individual?

The Centro Tecnológico del Mármol, Piedra y Materiales (Marble, Stone and Materials Technology Center) is a Centre for Innovation & Technology for the mining sector in Spain, focused on the provision of technological services and development of innovative R&D projects. My role in Rotate is the coordination and management of the different tasks we are involved in. Our role in Rotate is mainly focused on the development of advanced characterization methods and valorization techniques.

Within ROTATE a technology based on an automated vision system to detect granulometry in real time and control and separate between waste and material will be developed. After this separation stage, the valuable material will be automatically introduced into the crushing equipment, improving the efficiency between the drilling and crushing stages. Some problems of AVS will be also tackled: lighting and dust at the acquisition stage and the definition of specific algorithms at the processing stage, due to differences in the shape and disposition of the rocks. Energy consumption and CO2 emissions will be reduced.

We will validate a new formulation of concrete for 3D printing technology with residues providing a revalorization of mining sludges produced during the mining and quarrying operations. In this project, prototypes of 3D printers will be used to guarantee that the mixtures are printable on a relevant scale. This process allows the production of complex geometries without employing any mold. While sludge mixtures are a good candidate to be used as raw materials for 3D printing, their physico-mechanical behavior, as well as the effects derived from their different composition, are still unknown.

In the ROTATE project, a new technology with hyperspectral analysis of tailings complemented with different non-destructive geophysical techniques will be developed for the valorization of the specific elements of interest in a tailing dam (REE and other critical raw materials) by remoting control detection that will overcome the current problems of characterization and non-reuse of tailings in mines.

CTM is also the partner responsible for the definition of a methodological guide on mine closure and remediation. To guide decision-makers to ensure that biodiversity objectives are met, an EU-scale innovative framework for biodiversity conservation and restoration in mining and quarrying will be developed.

Why do you think that projects like Rotate are so important?

Projects like Rotate are so important because contribute to reducing the environmental impacts of extractive and mining processing value chains, developing demonstrators and pilot plants with a lower environmental impact, reducing environmental footprint and increasing the circularity of extractive and processing value chains, and reducing contaminants and impurities in extracted raw materials, developing methods, technologies, and processes for mining and processing aiming at significantly decreased emissions (CO2 and other emissions), significantly increasing resource and energy efficiency, and increased circularity of raw materials together with the increased valorization of extractive waste.

Rotate supports extractive waste valorization and energy efficiency through cross-sectoral cooperation and industrial symbiosis, involving the mining industry, developing sustainable solutions to reduce the dependence of extractive activities on carbon-related energy sources and process emissions, reducing materials use, water, and waste valorization at all stages of the extractive and processing cycle.

Rotate facilitates the market uptake of solutions developed through industrially- and user-driven multidisciplinary consortia covering the relevant value chain.

Rotate also contributes to improving the awareness of the public about the importance of raw materials for society, the challenges related to their supply within the EU, and proposed solutions that could help to improve society’s acceptance of and trust in sustainable raw materials production in the EU.

In your opinion which should be the most important areas for the future of mining?

There are four major trends that are fundamentally transforming the mining industry. First, the shift from diesel to electrification. Second, there is digitalization, which is resulting in increased productivity and more sustainable use of resources while lowering input costs. The third trend is automation, which will also increase productivity and change the way we work. The fourth is related to the inclusion of biodiversity and climate change adaptation in the daily operations at mines and quarries. Future mines will be carbon-dioxide-free, digitalized, and autonomous. Artificial intelligence will be commonplace in mining operations, as miners will use it to interpret data from smart sensors and machine interconnection, and to improve operational safety and efficiency through unmanned, AI-enabled technologies. This will transform mining into one of the safest occupations of its kind.

Let us know you a little bit better. Would you tell us something you like to do when you are out of the office?

I consider myself a happy, resilient, and restless person. I like to get as involved as possible in all the projects I am carrying out, feel motivated, add value, and improve every day, which is why I am in constant training.

In my free time, I practice outdoor sports and read… and I love to travel.