European Critical Raw Materials Act announced

European Critical Raw Materials Act announced

In her 2022 State of the European Union address, European Commission President von der Leyen noted that without secure and sustainable access to the necessary raw materials, Europe’s ambition to become the first climate-neutral continent is at risk.

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The Act follows several European policy initiatives made by the Commission in cooperation with its Member States and industry, namely the Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials from 2020, the European Raw Materials Alliance (modelled on the Battery Alliance) and the RePowerEU plan put forward in May. 

While the details are currently vague, the EU Critical Raw Materials Act is aimed at increasing the EU’s critical material self-sufficiency.  Based on President von der Leyen’s speech, the Act will:

  • Provide a shared understanding of which critical raw materials can be considered particularly strategic. This requires setting criteria for identifying raw materials which are of particular strategic relevance for Europe’s twin transition and defence needs, including economic importance, supply concentration, strategic applications and forecasted supply gaps.
  • Create a European network of raw materials agencies and anticipate risks, with the network monitoring and stress testing abilities to allow industry to anticipate risks of disruptions, price hikes or shortages and take appropriate diversification, stockpiling and investment decisions.
  • Help build more resilient supply chains, supporting projects and attracting more private investment from mining to refining, processing, and recycling.  These projects should benefit from streamlined procedures and better access to finance.
  • Ensure a strong and sustainable level playing field, drawing on single market tools, such as standards. 

The details remain vague and at this point, it isn’t possible to assert whether the Act will have teeth. However, the rhetoric points towards Europe looking to join up some of its thinking on critical materials and finally address some of the significant challenges it faces.

  • 15 Sep 2022
  • European Union

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