Raw Materials Criticality
Reliable access to raw materials is a growing concern for the European Union, pushing the European Commission to assess a list of critical raw materials (CRMs) for the EU economy. The CRM list is revised every three years, and the assessment is based on two axes:
- Economic importance;
- The high risk associated with their supply.
Critical raw materials are not necessarily geologically scarce. Still, other aspects, such as changes in the geopolitical-economic framework that may directly impact the supply and demand of raw materials, have been considered. A group of directly concerned stakeholders, including the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre, Industry, Consultants, Raw Material Supply Group (RMSG) experts, carries out the assessment. Between the first (2009-2010) and the latest (2019-2020) assessment, CRMs have doubled, moving from 14 to 30, indicating a higher risk of supply interruption for the EU economy.
Why is it important?
- Link to industry – non-energy raw materials are linked to all industries across all supply chain stages;
- Modern technology – technological progress and quality of life rely on access to a growing number of raw materials. For example, a smartphone might contain up to 50 different kinds of metals, all of which contribute to its small size, lightweight and functionality;
- Environment – raw materials are closely linked to clean technologies. They are irreplaceable in solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting.
Since its creation, IMA-Europe has been a key stakeholder in the RMSG, and the association is actively involved with multiple experts in the CRM assessment process. IMA-Europe has also contributed to numerous events dedicated to policy and technical discussions on CRM related topics.
- The European Commission has created a dedicated website that includes all the necessary information to understand the Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) list.
- 2020 – Fourth list of CRMs.
- 2017 – Third list of CRMs.
- 2014 – Second list of CRMs.
- 2011 – First list of CRMs.