Photo credits: RHJ

On 16 March, the EU Commission presented a proposal for a regulation (the Critical Raw Materials Act) and a communication that included potential actions to secure the supply of ‘critical raw materials’ which are needed for its digital and green transitions. The Commission’s plans need to be seen in the context of Europe’s Green Deal and against the background of the Russian war in Ukraine, which has confirmed the EU’s vulnerability in terms of resource dependency.

The Critical Raw Materials Act would oblige, by 2030, at least 10% of the consumption of such materials to come from European mining, 40% of processing and refining to be done in Europe, and 15% of consumption to come from recycling. The proposals also include easier and faster permitting processes for mining in Europe and initiatives for improving skills and training for people working in the mining industries.

Finally, the Commission acknowledges that Europe will never be completely self-sufficient and therefore foresees actions in the areas of international trade (e.g., Raw Materials Club) to make sure imported materials will have been sourced sustainably.

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