Less Dependence on China: Mining and Recycling to Set Things Right

by | 3. Jan 2023 - 15:26 | Politics

The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology presents a key issues paper on securing raw materials.

The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection wants to reduce Germany’s dependence on raw material imports. A key points paper exclusively available to the Süddeutsche Zeitung (paywall) mentions the strong market power of China, Russia, but also South Africa for certain raw materials. “With the demand for mineral raw materials continuing to rise, this dependency will increase if necessary,” the Süddeutsche Zeitung continues to quote. That this will happen should be reasonably certain in view of the expansion of renewable energies and electromobility, as Europe will need 35 times more lithium than today to achieve the self-imposed goal of climate neutrality by 2050, but also 26 times more rare earth metals, according to a study by the Catholic University (KU) Leuven in Belgium.

Like the study authors, the German ministry sees the development of a circular economy and increased domestic mining as possible solutions for greater autonomy. Concrete targets by when this should be achieved for which raw material should help, according to Jens Gutzmer, director of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, and Jakob Kullik, research associate at the Chair of International Politics at Chemnitz University of Technology, in a recent guest article for Handelsblatt (paywall). In the case of rare earths, import dependence “should be reduced by 30 to 50 percent in the next five to ten years, for example,” the authors said.
Kullik was critical of Germany’s raw materials policy last June (we reported).

Photo: iStock/qwerty01

Starting Soon: Rawmaterials Newsletter

Subscribe now and stay up to date!

Subscribe Now!
Stay up to date with our brand new newsletter.
By subscribing, you agree that the data you enter will be transmitted to our e-mail tool rapidmail.