The Council of the EU gave its final approval on Monday (18 March) for a strategy to secure a sustainable supply of raw materials critical for the green transition, digital industries, and defence sectors, it said in a press release. Europe is largely dependent on other countries for the supply of these critical elements, such as lithium for battery making and rare earth elements used in electronics.

The Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) approved today is an attempt to reduce the EU’s reliance on these third countries, particularly China, which has a chokehold on the supply chains of many of these elements. The CRMA defines a list of 17 strategic elements, such as cobalt and copper, and an expanded list of 34 critical materials, which includes coking coal. The legislation sets ambitious goals for the supply of strategic elements.

By 2030, the bloc’s annual consumption will be composed of at least 10% locally extracted minerals, 40% elements processed within the EU, and 25% from recycled materials. In the same timeline, no single third country will supply more than 65% of Europe’s annual consumption of any of the key materials. Crucially, the Act sets deadlines for the assessment of projects within the EU. Extraction projects are set to go through the permitting process within 27 months while recycling and processing projects should receive their permits within 15 months. Large companies manufacturing key technologies like batteries and renewable energy generators are to conduct risk assessments of their supply chains, as well as develop mitigation strategies to face possible supply disruptions.

Source: Euractiv

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