Updated: Sep 17, 2020
On 3 September 2020, the European Commission released its long awaited fourth edition of the Critical Raw Materials (CRM) list and action plan. The CRM Alliance welcomes the addition of four new critical raw materials and the EU’s renewed effort on securing the supply of materials crucial to Europe, which is a foundational step for developing sustainability.
The new list has added four new materials – bauxite, lithium, strontium and titanium – and has removed helium gas. This brings the list up to 30 substances, which is a record number of materials included on the EU’s CRM list.
Welcoming the publication of the list, CRM Alliance President Martin Tauber said, “We are happy to see new former candidate materials like lithium on the CRM list, which in our view transforms the list from ‘critical’ to an understanding of what kind of materials really are of strategic importance for Europe.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the EU’s vulnerable position on the CRM market. The EU’s dependence on imports of CRMs risks undermining the production capacity and competitiveness of key industries across Europe.
Shortages of strategic metals and minerals needed to produce batteries and renewable energy technologies could threaten the EU’s climate ambitions. The newly released Action Plan shows the urge to secure a continuous supply of those raw materials considered to be critical for a sustainable EU economy.
CRM Alliance Secretary General Maurits Bruggink welcomes the publication of the 2020 CRM List and Action plan and is particularly happy to see that the Commission will aim to address and understand value chains. “The Commission’s action plan proposes to form alliances in value chains, much like the EU Battery Alliance, and promotes the use of critical raw materials in many different green technologies,” explained Mr Bruggink. “It also encourages responsible sourcing of CRMs and the solidification of sustainable supply chains,” he added.
The strategy strongly emphasizes securing CRMs through exploration, investment and improved recycling. “We welcome the Commission’s efforts to diversify supply chains and to promote recyclability. We regret, however, that there is little detail provided in terms of developing primary CRM production in the EU,” said Mr Bruggink. “The EU has the potential to extract a greater amount key raw materials domestically, such as lithium, tungsten or tantalum, and to re-shore supply chains on European soil.”
The Action Plan also recognizes the importance of creating a level playing field and protecting EU industry against unfair foreign subsidies practices undermining the principles of free and fair trade.
As noted by Mr Tauber, “Actions to come should secure reliable value chains in attracting primary production and sustainable trade channels for the now 30 materials".
To learn more about the new list, register for our webinar on the 2020 CRM List and Action Plan on 23 September 2020 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.