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

I work at Zabala Innovation as a Social Innovation Consultant as part of the Social Innovation Team. I have a psychology degree and a master’s in Organizational Psychology and Psychosocial Interventions. Social innovation involves developing new ideas, services, and models to address better the social challenges that R&I projects may imply and ultimately, increase the social acceptance of these new solutions. In this sense, Zabala aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to implement this vision in all projects.

I also collaborate in Zabala’s Science & Education Knowledge Area as an Erasmus+ expert and in the Social Innovation Knowledge Area.

The Social Innovation department is comprised of a specialized team with large experience in supporting EU projects to identify and recognize potential social challenges linked to innovative processes, services, and technologies, design potential mitigation measures and strategies to foster social awareness, stakeholder participation, and engagement, finally contributing to its social acceptance.

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

Zabala Innovation Consulting is a consultancy firm with large experience in the management of R&D Innovation activities and Social Innovation activities. With a team of more than 400 professionals across thirteen countries, we specialize in providing project management, social innovation, exploitation, and communication and dissemination services for projects funded under transnational collaborative programs, including exploitation and innovation management in multi-beneficiaries grant agreements.

In ROTATE, ZABALA leads WP8, Clustering Activities & Social Understanding, to increase social understanding and citizen awareness of the importance of CRM for our daily lives. This includes the development and implementation of social understanding, an effective engagement and co-creation strategy, and guidelines to incorporate SDGs in the management strategy of mining and quarrying. As part of the Social Innovation team at ZABALA, I work directly in helping to coordinate and lead the activities involved in WP8, as well as lending my expertise in the methodologies that are being used for all aspects of social understanding and stakeholder engagement.

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

Projects like ROTATE play a crucial role in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges associated with mineral extraction and processing and aim to unlock the full potential of these activities while ensuring sustainability and ecological responsibility.

By developing innovative technologies and tools, the project aims to achieve zero emissions and pollution in obtaining essential and critical raw materials. Additionally, ROTATE emphasizes a circular approach by implementing mechanisms for waste valorization, particularly in industrial symbiosis, where waste is reused as construction aggregates and secondary products are recovered. The proposed solutions not only enhance the cut-off grade but also contribute to minimizing the overall environmental impact.

The project also aims to deliver specific methods and technologies that address societal concerns, ultimately increasing the acceptance of exploiting Critical Raw Material deposits.

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

In my opinion, one of the crucial areas for the future of mining is the social aspect. The long lifespan of quarries, coupled with the expanding growth of cities, has sometimes resulted in their encroachment on densely populated areas. This proximity to neighborhoods gives rise to social conflicts, including issues such as increased traffic, environmental concerns, and a loss of trust in the resource management (RM) value chain. Mining activities have the potential to generate significant social, economic, and environmental impacts, thereby compromising the overall public perception of the sector and jeopardizing the social acceptance of mining operations. Identifying, addressing, and mitigating these social challenges is essential for the sustainable development and success of the mining industry in the future. ROTATE´s efforts to increase social awareness and engagement, and guidelines to incorporate SDGs in the management strategy of mining and quarrying intend to bridge this gap.

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

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and playing board games with friends.