European Raw Materials Alliance publishes an Action Plan to secure European Raw Materials

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 21 October 2021

The demand for rare-earth materials is growing rapidly in the EU. 

These materials are vital for: 

  • Wind power 

  • Electric mobility 

  • Communication technology 

The supply of rare-earth materials is also crucial for the EU’s transition to a green, digital economy. While the EU is a world leader in the manufacturing of electric motors, it is almost fully dependent on imports of raw materials from China. 

In this context, the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) has released an Action Plan to secure access to Rare Earth Elements for European industry.  

Bernd Schäfer, CEO of EIT RawMaterials, the Innovation Community which manages the European Raw Materials Alliance, states that ‘the EU has committed to the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050. The raw materials needed to facilitate this energy transition are massive, and Europe urgently needs to secure their supply. This Action Plan outlines the steps we must take to ensure that the rare earth elements upon which the EU Green Deal relies remain available for European industry and society.’ 

Seconding this, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, explains that ‘the Commission’s in-depth review of critical supply chains and key technologies has highlighted the EU’s high level of foreign dependency on inputs required for our green and digital transition and our continent’s resilience. The EU depends on others – mainly China – for the import of permanent magnets, as well as the rare earth elements they are made of. The European Raw Materials Alliance plays a key role in addressing these dependencies.’ 

To address these issues, the ERMA is tackling the key challenges related to raw materials supply through thematic clusters.  

The first of these clusters is the ERMA Cluster on Rare Earth Magnets and Motors. With input from more than 180 industry stakeholders, ERMA has developed an Action Plan to highlight challenges related to the vulnerable global rare earth supply chain and provide specific actions that the EU, Member States, industry, and innovation communities should take into account. 

The Action Plan contains four key recommendations: 

  • European policymakers need to create a level playing field 

  • European producers that use rare earths will need to buy a significant percentage share of materials from European producers 

  • The EU will need to ensure that end-of-life products and waste materials containing rare earths stay in Europe, facilitating recycling and reuse 

  • Large-scale private investments in the emerging European rare earths value chain are crucial 

You can read the full report attached at the bottom of this page. 

ERMA action image
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