Why is the Briefcase Project Important?
The Briefcase Project seeks to bring minerals and mining closer to society as a whole. Our ultimate hope is that citizens will know from an early age where the mineral products they use in daily life come from and how their purchase decisions affect the social environments of people who live in countries with resources exploitation.
This is a novel approach to teaching students to recognise common minerals and their applications while also reflecting on how their choices can encourage ethically robust practices among companies. The Briefcase shows the consequences of "not in my backyard" (NIMBY) – an attitude that has displaced part of mining outside Europe, sometimes to places where the human rights of workers involved are not respected.
It is not possible to live without minerals and mines, and extraction processes inevitably have consequences. However, through example and a friendly approach, we want students to see that mining is a critical, modern activity, and its impact on society and environment can be mitigated. This understanding is essential for creating a future with knowledgeable citizens who are able to make informed decisions.
How does The Briefcase work?
The first creation of the Briefcase Project was a physical briefcase containing examples of minerals and corresponding products for which they are used. There are many ways to utilise the Briefcase (you can learn more) to deepen knowledge, but the initial activity is a matching game in which students follow clues to identify how the minerals are used in common items. The Briefcase is designed for students between 6 and 14 years of age.
The Briefcase product has been used successfully by the Geomining museum and the IGME (Geological Survey of Spain) for ten years. Based on that experience, new thematic Briefcases have been configured, and the tool has been presented in different areas of Europe through workshops and demonstrations in universities and educative and research centres. You can learn more about the various Briefcase options now available here.
The material is available to the academic and educative community to be used in their courses in an autonomous way through a free lending service provided by the project partners.
The 3D Briefcase was recently developed, in which students play an interactive digital version of the primary Briefcase matching game. Clues help the students learn more about the minerals they are matching as well as additional information about how mining the minerals have impacted regions.
Who is responsible for the project?
The Briefcase was created and developed by 12 partners, representing the public, private and educational sectors. You can learn more about these important contributors here.