Project duration: 01 March 2018 – 30 November 2019

Objective

Rare earth elements (REE) are essential for the transition towards sustainability. However, REE are critical metals and only one country, China, dominates the entire supply chain with its own domestic pitfalls such as environmental pollution, illegal mining, impacting the international market.

As highlighted by the European Rare Earths Competency Network, boosting supply security through enhanced cooperation among European end-users and other stakeholders should receive top priority. However, enhancing collaboration between the REE supply chain is a major challenge because unlike many other types of metals and elements, there is no REE industry association who gathers stakeholders together. The reason an association like this does not exist is not that it is not needed. On the contrary, the REE industry faces numerous obstacles such as inefficient recovery of REE from end users/end products, the high environmental impact from production and processing, high volatility of the raw material prices and low competition from countries outside China. To combat these issues, GloREIA, concurrently gathers key supply chain actors currently already on the global market and share and create information which leads to an innovative REE industry of the future.

The solution (technology)

GloREIA contributes to a novel, circular business models across REE value chains. The project will also set up and manage a database of life cycle inventories with and for industry members and scientists in the REE field.

Its challenges include the development of a strong REE network that includes China, providing a space for research activities to be launched in industry, and strengthening the capacity to influence REE supply on a global scale.

Partnership

  • Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium (Lead partner)
  • Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Denmark
  • Kolektor Magnet Technology GmbH, Germany
  • Leiden University, Netherlands
  • Magneti Ljubljana d.d., Slovenia
  • Neo Performance Materials, Estonia