Experts participate in hearing about Critical Raw Material act

On 22 May, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) held an open hearing on the Critical Raw Materials Act, with the involvement of scientific, environmental and industry/mining experts.

This meeting was a follow up of the European Commission’s 16 March proposal, and the European Parliament’s subsequent discussion on the Critical Raw Material Act (CRMA). It was aimed to provide an opportunity for discussion between stakeholders.

Multiple stakeholders highlighted the importance of the entire value chain, rather than just material procurement, and related to this, the connection of CRMA to the Net Zero Industry Act. In addition, the geographical reliance on other parts of the world were also discussed, highlighting that what is considered a Critical Raw Material can vary based on region. According to multiple experts, this carries geopolitical implications, but also serves as an opportunity to strengthen external relations with third countries. In addition, the continuous monitoring of the list was proposed instead of periodical reviews, as strategic importance of elements can vary.

Industry and mining experts raised the topic of financial incentives, the necessity of upscaling, but also mentioned how innovation can reduce material needs. However, the European Environmental Bureau highlighted its concerns with regards to the mining sector, citing issues with human rights, environment and biodiversity – thus advised caution regarding the reliance on mining. Mining experts however aimed to reassure participants by pointing out their commitment to control environmental and social risks.

The concept of Critical Raw Materials relates to issues of Element Scarcity, a key area of concern for the EuChemS Periodic Table, and the science-policy workshops related to it, such as the most recent one on the critical element of Phosphorus.

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