On 13 September 2017, the European Commission published a Communication on its long-awaited 2017 list of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs), which features 27 raw materials and updates the 2014 list. The primary purpose of the list is to identify the raw materials with a high supply-risk and a high economic importance to which reliable and unhindered access is a concern for European industry and value chains.
Following an objective methodology the list provides a factual tool for trade, innovation and industrial policy measures to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry in line with the renewed industrial strategy for Europe, for instance by:
identifying investment needs which can help alleviate Europe’s reliance on imports of raw materials;
guiding support to innovation on raw materials supply under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme;
drawing attention to the importance of critical raw materials for the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and more circular economy
It is hoped that the list will help incentivize the European production of critical raw materials through enhancing recycling activities and when necessary to facilitate the launching of new mining activities.
The new list features 27 raw materials: Antimony, Beryllium, Borates, Cobalt, *Coking Coal, Fluorspar, Gallium, Germanium, Indium, Magnesium, Natural Graphite, Niobium, Phosphate Rock, Silicon Metal, Tungsten, Platinum Group Metals, Light Rare Earths and Heavy Rare Earths, Baryte, Bismuth, Hafnium, Helium, Natural Rubber, Phosphorus, Scandium, Tantalum, and Vanadium.
*it is important to note that Coking Coal is considered a borderline case. Although it narrowly misses the economic importance threshold, for the sake of caution, coking coal is kept on the list of critical raw materials for the EU and thus included in the table. However, it will be phased out from the next list should it fail to meet the criteria in full.
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