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EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act given the green light

28/03/2024

The European Council has given the final green light to legislation that forges a strategy to secure a sustainable supply of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) in Europe.

The approval is the last step in the decision-making process of The Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) and means deadlines can now be set for the assessment of extraction projects and permits issued within a maximum of 27 months. You can read more about its origins here.

Cleaner & greener

Critical minerals and rare earth metals that currently lie below the Earth’s surface are required to drive the transition to a greener, cleaner planet and achieve our future low carbon economy. Europe is largely dependent for its CRM supply from high-carbon sources or countries with controversial environmental and social practices. The EU is also extremely vulnerable to any supply chain shocks. Self-sufficiency and a diversity of supply is therefore an urgent priority, echoed by the CRMA.

Milestone moment

The CRMA’s approval has great significance for Norge Mineraler. as we develop our world-class resource at Eigersund, in southwest Norway. Our deposits of phosphate, vanadium and titanium are materials that are all on the EU’s expanded list of 34 critical raw materials and 17 strategic elements; demand for which is expected to rise exponentially in the coming years.

These CRMs are needed for technologies like solar panels, EV batteries and renewable energy batteries and in products like eco-friendly fertilisers and animal feed. And as ingredients that help lighten the load of aircraft – thereby reducing CO2 emissions. All vital steps in the global march towards net zero.

Ambitious benchmarks

The Act will strengthen the EU’s future access to these materials through ambitious targets on extraction, processing, recycling and diversification of import sources. It sets out three benchmarks for annual CRM consumption by 2030: 10% from local extraction, 40% processed in the EU and 25% from recycled materials.

In 2023, EU President Ursula Von Der Leyen pledged the legislation must help reduce European dependence on China for valuable metals and minerals.

Sustainable & responsible

As well as granting extraction permits, the CRMA will provide permits for recycling and processing projects to be delivered within 15 months. There will be limited exceptions aimed at ensuring a meaningful engagement with local communities affected and environmental impact assessments in complex cases.

CRM extraction and processing must be conducted in a way that is socially and environmentally responsible. Norge Mineraler adheres to the highest ESG standards, and our principles of responsible stewardship will remain a priority throughout. In addition, Norway is politically and economically one of the most stable and developed countries in the world. Thanks to a national grid that powered by (mostly) hydropower – any future operations will run on renewables.

Identifying vulnerabilities

As part of the CRMA, risk assessments will be carried out on the supply chains of large companies that manufacture batteries, hydrogen and renewable generators. These exercises are intended to identify vulnerabilities for more efficient provision of strategic technologies in the future.

The Act will now be passed to the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council for their signature. It will then be published in the Journal of the EU and enter into force 20 days later.