EUROPEAN UNION

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT 

In 2020 the EU Commission announced plans to diversify its access to rare earth materials used in producing "strategic technologies" and consumer goods like smart phones, electric cars and televisions. By 2050, the EU will need around 60 times more lithium, essential for e-mobility,  and 15 times more cobalt, which is used in electric car batteries. EU could also need 10 times more rare earth minerals which are used for permanent magnets in electric vehicles, digital devices or wind generators.  

The first step of the EU's action plan is to launch an industry-driven European Raw Materials Alliance in the third quarter, "initially to build resilience and open strategic autonomy for the rare earths and magnets value chain, before extending to other raw material areas," the European Commission said. The EU will also develop sustainable financing criteria for mining and processing by the end of 2021.

While diversifying supply is among the first steps in the bloc's strategy, it will also look to make better use of its own resources and recycling. The regions has four industrial projects in sustainable mining and processing underway at a cost of nearly €2 billion that are expected to cover 80% of the EU's lithium requirements in the battery sector by 2025.

Why critical raw materials are important

  • Link to industry - non-energy raw materials are linked to all industries across all supply chain stages

  • Modern technology - technological progress and quality of life rely on access to a growing number of raw materials. For example, a smartphone might contain up to 50 different kinds of metals, all of which contribute to its small size, light weight and functionality.

  • Environment – raw materials are closely linked to clean technologies. They are irreplaceable in solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting.

2020 CRITICAL RAW MATERIALS LIST

Antimony

Baryte

Bauxite

Beryllium

Bismuth

Borate

Cobalt

Coking coal

Fluorspar

Gallium

Germanium

Hafnium

Heavy Rare Earth Elements

Light Rare Earth Elements

Lithium

Indium

Magnesium

Natural graphite

Natural rubber

Niobium

Platinum Group Metals

Phosphate rock

Phosphorus

Scandium

Silicon metal

Strontium

Tantalum

Titanium

Tungsten

Vanadium