What is ProSUM?

Pro sum is the Latin phrase for "I am useful". ProSUM is an EU funded project and stands for "Prospecting Secondary raw materials in the Urban mine and Mining waste".  The aim of the project is to develop a central European database of all waste coming from:

  • Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE);
  • End-of-life vehicles (ELVs);
  • Batteries; and
  • Mining waste.

This project provides the basis for improving Europe's knowledge on the supply of raw materials from secondary sources (as opposed to supply from a primary source, i.e. mining).  Such information will facilitate re-cycling, re-use and reduce our reliance on mining as a source for raw materials.  The project will provide access to data and intelligence on the life cycle of mineral raw materials from extraction to end of life products through to recycling.  An important aspect of the project is that the location of mineral raw materials will be determined and will be displayed on maps accessible via a dedicated website.


How does the GSI contribute?

GSI has provided data to the ProSUM project on the location and composition, where known, of mine waste from Irish mines.  This information includes:

  • Existing operating mines, such as at Navan, Co. Meath
  • Abandoned historic mines, such as in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow and
  • Recent operations such as at Avoca, Co. Wicklow (pictured) and Silvermines, Co. Tipperary.

GSI has also contributed its expertise to ensure that data on mining waste is collected in format that is the same throughout Europe.

 Mount Platt Avoca East



Mine waste – Waste from the extractive industries such as:

  • Tailings (i.e. the waste solids or slurries that remain after the treatment of minerals by a number of techniques);
  • Waste rock and overburden (i.e. the material that extractive operations move during the process of accessing an ore or mineral body, including during the pre-production development stage); and
  • Topsoil (i.e. the upper layer of the ground).

Accordingly, this definition (as laid down by the European Commission) does not apply to those waste streams which, albeit generated in the course of mineral extraction or treatment operations, are not directly linked to the extraction or treatment process, e.g. food waste, waste oil, end-of-life vehicles, spent batteries and accumulators.


Urban Mine – Any waste materials that can be recycled or "mined" for their valuable components. Urban mining can range from recycling electronic devices to harvest their raw materials content to construction and demolition waste for use as aggregate material – when separated and treated properly.


Circular Economy –In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible.  Waste and resource use are minimised, and when a product reaches the end of its life, it is used again to create further value.

ProSUM official website