Berlin (GTAI) – The Critical Raw Materials Act proposal - subject to formal adoption by both institutions - sets out an ambitious program of targets to promote increased raw material sovereignty within Europe. The new proposals will see a larger share of critical raw materials – including lithium and magnesium - extracted and recycled with the European Union (EU) in the future, with more localized processing also strongly foregrounded. According to the legislation, EU contribution targets for the extraction, processing and recycling of critical raw materials have been set at 10 percent, 40 percent and 25 percent respectively.
The legislation is one of the EU’s most important geoeconomic projects; coming in response to current challenges and Europe’s traditionally high dependence on raw materials imports. Aluminum has been added to the list of 34 critical raw materials (of which 17 are “strategic” raw materials necessary to the transformation of the industry). Measures have also been put in place to strengthen the recycling benchmark, clarify strategic project approval processes, and ensure that companies carry out a supply chain risk assessment when sourcing strategic raw materials.
“We welcome these developments as demand for critical and strategic raw materials in Europe continues to increase” said Germany Trade & Invest’s Thomas Grigoleit, Director for Energy, Building and Environmental Technologies. “European Union demand for lithium for use in electric vehicles will grow twelvefold by 2030, with demand for rare earths also expected to increase by five to six times over the same period. These proposals are a striking example of Europe’s changing industry policy direction as it seeks to reduce dependency and increase diversity of imports from third countries.”
European Union extraction approval procedures will be sped up to meet the ambitious targets laid out in the legislation. Deadlines for recycling and processing plants will also be set at a level of 15 months once the act is formally approved.
The Critical Raw Material Act, together with the Net Zero Industry Act and the Reform of Electricity Market Design, is one of the flagship legislative initiatives of the European Commission’s Green Deal Industrial Plan launched at the start of the year.