In the face of “intensifying geopolitical competition,” supply chains are to become more resilient.
Last July, the UK presented its first Critical Minerals Strategy – now it has already been updated. The aim is to address the “changing global landscape and intensifying geopolitical competition,” according to Nusrat Ghani, minister of state at the Department of Business and Trade.
By expanding its own production capacity, working with international partners and strengthening global markets, the government aims to create resilient and diversified supply chains for key raw materials such as rare earths and lithium. Since the strategy was launched, successes have already been achieved, the report says, such as the intensification of raw materials partnerships with Canada and a new agreement with South Africa. Domestic resource projects have received funding, including the construction of Pensana’s first U.K. rare earth refinery, Green Lithium’s future lithium refinery and Cornish Metals’ planned restart of the South Crofty tin mine.
17 Million for Rare Earth Recycling
Also, the Circular Critical Materials Supply Chains (CLIMATES) research and innovation fund was established with an initial £15 million (about €17 million) to improve rare earth supply through circular economy (we reported).
New features of the review include the establishment of an independent Task & Finish Group on Critical Minerals Resilience for UK Industry. This is expected to produce a report by the end of the year on the dependencies and vulnerabilities of UK industry in the area of raw materials and propose improvement measures for companies.
The UK plans to publish further critical materials supply strategies later this year, including semiconductor materials such as silicon and gallium arsenide, and specialty alloys in the aerospace and defense sectors.