On March 27, 2024, a new documentary entitled “Europe’s Mining Renaissance”, will premiere in Leuven during the DOCVILLE film festival. After the film a high-level panel discussion will take place, featuring Ia Modin, Julia Poliscanova, Nick Meynen, Peter Tom Jones and John Vandaele.

Why this documentary?

The Critical Raw Materials Act sets benchmarks for diversifying Europe’s critical raw materials supply chains, making Europe less dependent on China, Russia et al. By 2030 Europe needs to achieve at least 10% of domestic extraction of lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper and rare earths. Hence, Europe will need no less than a Mining Renaissance. Not the dirty coal mining of old, which fuels the global heating problem, but future-oriented, responsible mining of the metals that are needed to catalyse Europe’s climate change strategy.

In order to understand how socially & environmentally responsible mining can come to fruition, the film's presenter, Peter Tom Jones, travelled to the far North of Sweden and Southern Finland. He descended 1,400 m underground to explore the underground mine/deposit in the Arctic town of Kiruna, and visited Europe’s largest open pit copper mine and its tailing ponds in Aitik. Both mining operations are driven by local, green electricity. To obtain a view of the indigenous people of the far North, Jones engaged with a key spokesperson from the reindeer-herding Sami. He also met with local citizens in Kiruna.

In Finland he got to visit a bespoke battery assembly plant that is demanding more EU-sourced input materials, while in Belgium he interviewed various experts about Europe’s CRM potential. In Flanders he witnessed pilot trials in which mining waste is transformed into low-carbon concrete, driving the move to a (near) zero-waste approach. Jones sat down in Brussels with the EC’s EVP Maroš Šefčovič. Will Europe secure its strategic autonomy? Will the “strategic projects” within the CRMA – that would benefit from access to finance and shorter permitting timeframes – trigger the opening of new mines before 2030? Or will anti-mining opposition and NIMBYism throw a spanner in the wheel?

Première and panel debate (Aula Vesalius, Leuven – 27 March 2024)

After the showing of the film on March 27, there will be a high-level debate about the main discussion points of the film. The speakers are: 

  • Ia Modin (GOZZO Advokater): Ia Modin is an expert in the commercial exploitation of intellectual assets, specialising in commercial contract law, with a focus on innovation, industrial collaborations and commercialisation. Recognised for excellence in negotiating and drafting agreements for long-term strategic innovation partnerships, she represents international and domestic clients in a wide range of sectors, incl. the metals and mining industries. In addition, Ia is of Sami descent and advises clients on Sami issues. Ia Modin is a sought-after keynote speaker on innovation and strategy. She is President Elect of LES Scandinavia, and Co-Chair of the @LESI CEEM (Chemicals Environment Energy and Materials) Committee.
  • Julia Poliscanova (she/her) (Transport & Environment (T&E): Julia joined T&E in June 2015 and now leads the organisation's vehicles, electrification & supply chains work across Europe. Julia also represents T&E on the board of the Global Battery Alliance. Julia previously worked as senior EU environment expert for the Mayor of London and, as an advisor to an MEP, followed legislation on renewables, energy efficiency & sustainable transport. Hailing from Latvia, Julia studied European politics and French at Goldsmiths, University of London, and holds an MSc in energy from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
  • Nick Meynen (Leuven 2030): The last decade, Nick created the economic transition team at the European Environmental Bureau, where we was the senior policy officer for systemic change. He was a co-organiser of the largest event in the EP during von der Leyen’s term: the Beyond Growth conference. He is author of books such as “Frontlines. Stories of Global Environmental Justice” – which he also unpacked in a TED talk. Nick recently jumped from working at EU level to Leuven, where he assists with executing the cities’ climate contract with the EU in the most ambitious way possible. He has degrees in geography, conflict studies & investigative journalism.
  • Peter Tom Jones (SIM2 KU Leuven): Tom is the Director of the KU Leuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals. He is the presenter of several EU-funded documentaries, incl. “Europe’s Mining Renaissance”.
  • Moderator: John Vandaele (MO* magazine)

Key data about the documentary