Raw materials: Renew Europe calls for a strategy to ensure stability and independence for European industries

Author: Linda Aziz-Rohlje

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Raw materials
Raw materials

China provides the European Union with 98 percent of its supply of rare earth elements. This is unsustainable. For Renew Europe, it is paramount that Union develops an EU strategy to boost its strategic autonomy and secure stable and safe access to critical raw materials.

With the ongoing twin green and digital transitions, the demand for some critical raw materials is estimated to increase as much as 10 to 18 times by 2030. Renew Europe is more than convinced that ambitious targets, outlined in the report adopted in plenary on Tuesday, can be achieved through diversification of our supply chains in a sustainable way, while improving recycling rates and boosting domestic sourcing.

Renew Europe’s representative in the drafting of the report, MEP Mauri Pekkarinen, says:

“It is a fact that the huge demand for critical raw materials which are necessary to achieve Green Deal objectives and strategic autonomy for the Union, which the Commission has underlined in its own report, clearly exceed the current recycling capacity and the goals set for global mining activities.

If we wish to be honest, we should say that we need more mining and exploration of new minerals in Europe in order to respond to this increased demand.

Let me give an example. Lithium, an indispensable raw material to enable the transition to electric transportation, was included in the Commission's list of 30 critical raw materials for the first time. Just to cover the needs for car batteries and electricity storage, we will need 18 times more lithium than today by 2030. By 2050 the demand could be 60 times greater than today. We cannot close our eyes from this reality.”