World stone reserves are approximated to 15 billion m3 and estimates are that these stone resources are sufficient. The consumption of dimension stone has been rising day after day due to the increasing worldwide demand. Despite the COVID-19 crisis and the growing economic recession, international markets of granite, marble and stone are estimated to reach 5 trillion tons, with an annual growth of 3.5%. The global natural stone market was worth €30 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach €40 billion by 2026. The economically most significant part of the European ornamental stone industry is located in the Mediterranean, in the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt. However, according to the total production, the world's biggest natural stone producers are China, India, Iran, Turkiye, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Egypt, Portugal and Greece, making European countries (including Turkey) produce only around 30% of worldwide's production. This project aims at improving this situation to the benefit of Europe.
Each partners’ capabilities results the complementarity within the project. Some are specialized in in-situ investigations and data processing, whereas others are involved in high computer processing and algorithm developments. Field work, theoretical developments and computer modelling are strongly represented by various partners of the project.
Concerning ERA-MIN Research Agenda, this project address the following aspects: