Whitepaper Critical Raw Materials Act: A Scope on Lithium and Rare Earths

by | 24. Apr 2024 - 12:25 | Politics

 “Lithium and rare earths will soon be more important than oil and gas,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her State of the Union address in 2022. Two years later, in April 2024, the EU passed the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) into law in a landmark accomplishment seeking to strengthen the union’s critical raw materials supply chains. The main provisions of the act include domestic targets for mining, processing, and recycling and a limit on imports from individual nations for each strategic raw material.

The CRMA lists 34 Critical Raw Materials of which 16 are subdivided as Strategic Raw Materials asthose deemed “crucial” by the EU for strategic technologies used for electromobility, renewable power generation, and digital, defense, and aerospace applications. In its classification, the EU considered not only what raw materials are strategic to the region but also the product specifications needed to support demand from the aforementioned applications (e.g., battery grade, metallurgical grade, etc.).

In our whitepaper, in cooperation with Adamas Intelligence and TRADIUM, we examine the key provisions of the legislation in the context of the battery metal lithium and rare earth elements, used to produce advanced permanent magnets. The two raw materials are key for decarbonization efforts and modern technologies, but their outlook differs significantly. Europe is well positioned to meet or exceed targets for lithium across all four pillars: extraction, processing, recycling, and supply diversification. The situation for rare earths is more complicated, with the region unlikely to meet 2030 extraction or processing targets across the entirety of the value chain without an expedited, concerted push from governments and industry and an incorporation of the public.

The whitepaper is available to download for free on the website of our partner TRADIUM (PDF).

Feature image: iStock/DutchScenery

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