There is a growing demand for mineral resources worldwide, and yet industry is facing increasing obstacles in obtaining public acceptance for new exploration and mining projects. Numerous recent citizen protests highlight the public perception of ‘dirty’ mining projects and increase the reluctance of investors to finance explorations. Non-invasive exploration techniques can be defined as energy efficient, low-impact technologies. They assist in the detection and mapping of mineral deposits and improve exploration targeting with minimal environmental impact, while demonstrating that industry cares about reducing disturbance to the communities and environment in which they operate. However, it is increasingly understood that non-invasive technologies can help to maintain the social licence to operate and consequently lower the investment risk of exploration. To demonstrate this premise, we established an EU-funded research initiative called INFACT (Innovative, Non-Invasive and Fully Acceptable Exploration Technologies), which supports the development of innovative exploration and stakeholder engagement approaches. Our project will establish a set of permanent, accessible reference sites to trial and assess the technological and social performance of existing and emerging innovative, non-invasive exploration techniques like UAVs infrared hyperspectral imaging, magnetics, EM and radiometry.


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