Today the European Commission launched the new European Raw Materials Alliance, as announced in the Commission’s Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials on 3 September.
EIT RawMaterials will manage the stakeholder consultation process across the entire raw materials value chain, working with an innovation project-driven community, which brings together more than 150 industrial and non-industrial actors with the common objective of securing the supply of sustainable raw and advanced materials for industrial ecosystems in order to build Europe’s resilience and competitiveness.
Today, the European Commission, represented by Vice President Šefčovič and Commissioner Breton, launched the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA), with the presence of other EU Institutions, national Ministers, industry, unions and civil society organisations as well as key industry stakeholders.
The new alliance has been established in recognition of the critical importance of raw materials to the EU’s security, sustainability and industrial leadership. If Europe is to deliver a Green Deal, a digital transition and remain a leader in future technologies, it faces a significant increase in demand for critical raw materials.
The European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) will identify barriers, opportunities and investment cases to build capacity at all stages of the raw materials value chain, from mining to waste recovery. In a first phase, the alliance focuses on the most pressing need, which is to increase EU resilience in the rare earths and permanent magnets value chains, as these are vital to most EU industrial ecosystems. In addition to rapidly rising demand driven by electric vehicles and energy storage, demand for rare earths critical for products like wind turbines could increase ten-fold by 2050. Later, it will expand to address other critical and strategic raw material and base metal needs, such as Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission, said:
“Our strategic foresight shows clearly that the demand for critical raw materials is only going to rise, especially given the ongoing transition towards a green and digital economy. The pandemic has also highlighted the criticality of raw materials for our recovery. To secure a sustainable supply of raw materials we need to join forces across Europe, as we have done for the EU Battery Alliance. The European Alliance on Raw Materials will mobilise industrial and innovation actors, Member States, regions, the EIB, investors and civil society – to help build our capacities and investment cases along the entire value chain, from extraction to processing and recycling. This will in turn strengthen our resilience and boost our open strategic autonomy.”
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said:
“The European Raw Materials Alliance is an important step in strengthening the industrial ecosystems that depend on raw materials. The Alliance will accelerate the green and digital transition by reinforcing value chains, diversifying supplies and involving all willing partners in implementing the necessary actions. We invite all stakeholders, civil society organisations, researchers, companies large and small, Member States and regions, and to help us achieve these objectives.”
The alliance is already supported by over 150 stakeholders across multiple industrial sectors and value chains. The alliance is open and will mobilise all industrial and innovation actors, Member States, regions, the EIB, investors and civil society. Supporters are asked to sign a declaration, committing to ERMA’s shared vision, and to actively contributing to the alliance’s work. The Alliance is managed by EIT RawMaterials, the world’s largest knowledge and innovation community in the raw materials sector.
Bernd Schäfer, CEO of EIT RawMaterials, said:
“Raw materials will play a vital role to the revival, autonomy and resilience of Europe’s integrated industrial ecosystems. With the European Raw Materials Alliance, we have a true European answer based on the knowledge and expertise of more than 150 stakeholders/partners. Together we can turn Europe’s raw material dependency into a major strategic strength for our continent, while continually applying the highest environmental and social standards. We are honored to manage the European Raw Materials Alliance, which will drive diversification of sustainable supply and help make better use of the resources available within the EU.”
ERMA’s launch is part of a wider action plan on critical raw materials presented by the European Commission early in September, aimed at bolstering Europe’s resilience.
Raw materials are key enablers for a globally competitive, green, and digital Europe
Metals, minerals, and raw materials are vital to most European industries, including renewable energy, automotive, consumer electronics, defence and aerospace. Reliable, secure, and sustainable access to raw materials is a precondition for Europe’s Green Deal, digital transition, and the continent’s future industrial competitiveness and innovation capacity of Europe. At present Europe is highly dependent on raw materials from countries with less stringent environmental, social and human rights standards, and less stable economies.