GORmin - Governance Options for acceptable primary and secondary Scarce-Resource mining in Germany

Landfills at Mansfelder Land - own picture


New Publications:

Bleicher, A., David, M., Rutjes, H. (2019): When environmental legacy becomes a resource: On the making of secondary resources. Geoforum 101, 18-27.

David, M, Rutjes, H., Bleicher, A. (2019): The relational sociology of eco-innovation, Revista Española de Sociología (accepted).

Szenario Workshop
Scenario Workshop: Workshop within the Recycling Region Harz, 16.11.2018, Nordhausen, Germany

Within this scenario workshop actors from the Harz region discussed their ideas, visions, and opinions about the future development of the Harz region and, more specifically the idea to establish the Recycling Region Harz. In 2016 universities of the region gave birth to the idea to transform the Harz into Germany’s flagship region of recycling and initiated the Recycling Region Harz.

With this scenario workshop the GORmin-team tested one of its governance instruments.

Teaching Module: Controversy and responsibility in technology development and application, winter term 2018/19, Clausthal University of Technology, Germany

In a series of seminars students from natural sciences and engineering studies were familiarized with social scientific perspectives on and technology development and governance. The topics discussed in the seminaries are relevant for future research or future professional life of the students.

The module has been developed by the GORmin team as example of one of the governance instruments.

Policy Brief

The Policy Brief gives an overview over the governance instruments developed by the GORmin research group. These instruments aim on supporting scientists, scientific institutions, research and development networks, and political and idustrial actors to organize technology development for resource extraction in a more responsible way.

Download the Policy Brief here (in German only): Policy Brief

A more detailed description can be found in the accompanying document (in German only): accompanying document Policy Brief

GORmin's upcoming conferences 

Berliner Recycling- und Rohstoffkonferenz, 19. und 20. März 2018
A. Bleicher: Das Ende der Abfalleigenschaft - Kulturelle Mechanismen der Reinigung im Recycling

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, July 15-21 2018
M. David, H. Rutjes, A. Bleicher: The Relational Sociology of Technological Survival: The Exemplifying Case of Eco-Innovation

H. Rutjes, M. David, A. Bleicher: Opening the black box – The creative role of environmental expertise in co-designing mining technology

EASST2018: Meetings - Making Science, Technology and Society together, 25-28th July 2018
P. Gilbert, A. Bleicher - Panel on Techno-scientific expertise and geographical imaginaries in the making of new resource frontiers

Fourth Energy and Society Conference: Energy transitions in a divided world, 3.-5. September 2018
David M.; Bleicher, A. : Workshop: “The renewable energy-critical mineral-nexus in times of the global energy transition”

15th meeting of the young researcher’s network of environmental sociology, 11th‐12th October 2018
H. Rutjes: Die Operationalisierung von Praktiken in der Technologieentwicklung zur sekundären Rohstoffgewinnung

About GORmin

The research group is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding scheme "r4-Innovative technologies for resource efficiency - Research on provision of scarce resources".

The research of the research group aims to identify socio-cultural factors of designing innovative technologies for the exploitation of scarce resources from primary and secondary deposits. Sociotechnical controversies and conflicts will be identified and analysed in order to develop governance options for the sociotechnical system. The project starts with an analysis of social structures (actors and decision making structures) and cultural patterns and framings of the exploitation of scarce-resources. Potential mining activities will be categorized as regards the deposit and the technology that will be used for exploitation as well as regional structures.

Based on these analyses potentials and conflicts of implementing innovative resource technologies will be identified and evaluated as regards their influence on mining for scarce resources in Germany. Afterwards governance options for sustainable and acceptable mining and technology application will be developed based on a case study approach. Thereby we will rely on social science research on participative and sustainable technology development (e.g. designs of real world experimentation or responsible innovation).

Within the last two years of the project up to two of these governance options will be realized.

The research process will be designed by the researchers of the research group, however central aspects, such as the identification of sociotechnical controversies and conflicts, or the development of governance designs will be discussed with none-scientific actors from relevant fields of society (transdisciplinary research).

Research will be carried out in close cooperation with other projects funded in the r4-programm, especially the project "Theisenschlamm" .

The research contributes to the IP EnergyLandUse.


Dr. Alena Bleicher, GORmin     Dr. Alena Bleicher Dr. Martin David, GORmin     Dr. Martin David
Rutjes_Henriette_GORmin Henriette Rutjes

Dr. Alena Bleicher    
Sociologist and geographer, research areas: environmental sociology, dealing with nonknowledge, participative technology development

Dr. Martin David
Political scientist and sociologist, research areas: technology governance, sustainability transition, knowledge management and knowledge governance

Henriette Rutjes
Social Scientist, research areas: sociology of knowledge approach to discourse, societal (non)perception

Former team members

Robin Siebert
Master student sociology
Title of the Master thesis: "Rinderkacke statt Kupferschlacke“ - Kontroverse um eine innovative Rohstoffgewinnungstechnologie - Eine Rahmenanalyse.

PhD Student Magdalena Wallkamm
Political scientist and sociologist, research area: environmental sociology


Dr. Alena Bleicher (head of the research group)



David, M.; Gross, M. (2019): Futurizing politics and the sustainability of real-world experiments: What role for innovation and exnovation in the German energy transition? Sustainability Science (accepted).

David, M, Rutjes, H., Bleicher, A. (2019): The relational sociology of eco-innovation, Revista Española de Sociología (accepted).

Bleicher, A., David, M., Rutjes, H. (2019): When environmental legacy becomes a resource: On the making of secondary resources, Geoforum 101, 18–27.

Bleicher, A. (2018): Das Ende der Abfalleigenschaft - Kulturelle Mechanismen der Reinigung im Recycling. In: Thiel, S.; Thomé-Kozmiensky, E.; Goldmann, D. (Eds.): Recycling und Rohstoffe, Vol. 11, Thomé-Kozmiensky Publishing, pp. 125–134.

David, M. (2018): The role of organized publics in articulating the exnovation of fossil-fuel technologies for intra- and intergenerational energy justice in energy transitions, Applied Energy 228, 339–350.

David, M.; Schönborn, S. (2018): Bottom-Up Energy Transition Narratives: Linking the Global with the Local? A Comparison of Three German Renewable Co-Ops. Sustainability, 10, 924.

David, M. (2018): Exnovation as a successful strategy for energy transitions, in: Davidson, D; Gross, M. (eds.): Oxford Energy and Society Handbook, Oxford University Press, 520–537 (in press).

Meller, C.; Schill, E.; Bremer, J.; Kolditz, O.; Bleicher, A.; Benighaus, C.; Chavot, P., Gross, M.; Pellizzone, A.; Renn, O.; Schilling, F.; Kohl, T. (2018): Acceptability of geothermal installations: A geoethical concept for GeoLaB. Geothermics 73, 133–145, doi: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2017.07.008.

Bleicher, A., David, M., Rutjes, H., Wallkamm, M. (2017): Rohstoffgewinnung und Technologieentwicklung in Deutschland im Wandel : sozialwissenschaftliche Perspektiven, UFZ-Bericht 5/2017, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Leipzig.

David, M. (2017): Moving beyond the heuristic of creative destruction: Targeting exnovation with policy mixes for energy transitions. Energy Research & Social Science, 33: 138–146.

David, M. (2017): Eine Replik: Wie kann Exnovation politisch gestaltet werden? Ökologisches Wirtschaften, 4: 32.

David, M., Wallkamm, M., Bleicher, A. (2017): Die Rohstoffversorgung für die Energiewende: Nicht nur auf technologische Lösungen setzen! GAIA 26(2): 84–8.

David, M., Wallkamm, M., Bleicher, A. (2017): Resource extraction technologies - is a more responsible path of development possible? Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 14(4): 367–391.

Bleicher, A., Gross, M. (2016): Geothermal heat pumps and the vagaries of subterranean geology: Energy independence at a household level as a real world experiment, in: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (64), 279-288.

Bleicher, A. (2016): Technological change in revitalization - phytoremediation and the role of nonknowledge, in: Journal of Environmental Management (184), 78-84.

David, M., Bleicher, A., Wallkamm, M. (2016): Transdisziplinäre Ressourcenforschung – Der Schatz ist noch nicht gehoben, in: Politische Ökologie 34(144): 100-105.

Wallkamm, M., Bleicher, A., David, M. (2016): “Tell me what’s your landfill and I explain your social system” – sociocultural aspects of enhanced landfill mining governance in Germany. Third International Academic Symposium on Enhanced Landfill Mining, 08.-10. February 2016, Lisbon.

Wallkamm, M. (2015): Enhanced Landfill Mining and its Socio-Cultural Context, in: J. Lederer, D. Laner, H. Rechberger, J. Fellner (ed.), International Workshop "Mining the Technosphere - Drivers and Barriers, Challenges and Opportunities", TU Wien: Wien, 155-158.

Bleicher, A.; David, M. (2015): Keine Angst vor der Öffentlichkeit – Beteiligungen im Rahmen der Energie- und Rohstoffgewinnung in Deutschland, in Institut für Markscheidewesen und Geodäsie u.a. (ed.) Tagungsband Bergbau, Energie und Rohstoffe 2015, Nossen: Wagner Digitaldruck, 44–58.

funded by

Funding code 033R148