Study Sees Raw Material Supply in Germany at Risk in the Future

20. December 2021 | Market

In the medium and long term, the supply of many critical raw materials in Germany could be at risk. This is the result of a study commissioned by the Bavarian Business Association (vbw).

The Bavarian Business Association (vbw) has published a study on the security of supply of strategic raw materials. The conclusion: 22 of 45 minerals, metals and rare earths examined fall into the high-risk group. Almost all of them are of great importance for future technologies and high-tech products, but at the same time are mined and extracted in only a few countries. In the case of rare earths or battery raw materials, for example, Germany and Europe are almost completely dependent on imports. “Rising global demand for raw materials, increasing concentration on the supplier side and trade restrictions are jeopardizing medium- and long-term supply security,” the position paper states.

The previous study had already identified similar supply risks in 2020. Despite slight improvements, the battery raw material cobalt remains in first place, followed by tantalum. Gallium, a technology metal used in solar cells and mobile devices, among other things, is in 4th place (5th last year). Significant changes were seen in neodymium, which climbed from 16th to 7th place due to an increased price risk. The rare earth element is mainly needed for electric motors and wind turbines.

The vbw considers keeping the raw materials markets open through good diplomatic relations to be the most important task of politics. In addition, it is important to make better use of domestic raw material deposits, expand recycling possibilities and promote innovations. At present, it is hardly possible to replace critical raw materials such as rare earth elements and platinum group metals in products without a significant loss of performance.

Foto: iStock/metamorworks

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