Last week the European Union added aluminium to its list of essential minerals along with increasing recycling and processing goals for over two dozen raw materials. The move is aimed at bringing it closer to its green transition goals.
The moves are part of its Critical Raw Materials Act, which is intended to make the EU competitive with the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the area of clean tech. The commission proposed earlier this year to source at least ten percent of sixteen strategic raw materials from within its own borders by the end of the decade.
Also proposed is raising its recycling goal to 15 percent and processing of those raw materials on the continent to 40 percent. Ultimately, the EU plans to derive no more than 65 percent of any of those strategic raw materials, which include copper and lithium, from any one non-European country. They also seek to add aluminium, alumina, and bauxite to its list of strategic raw materials.
Friday saw European diplomats agree to bump up recycling of those raw materials to 20 percent and processing of them on the continent to 50 percent.
The European Commission lists 34 raw materials as critical, including every strategic raw material plus certain other materials, including arsenic, bauxite, and coking coal.
Ultimately, the EC hopes to simplify the permitting procedure for projects to extract and develop critical raw materials. Also it says it seeks to reduce the monitoring burden associated with such projects, and increasing recycling and domestic processing of those raw materials.
The EC has yet to polish the exact wording of the Act in cooperation with the European Parliament. The European Parliament is likely to finalize its wording this fall, and both parties are expected to conclude negotiations on the bill by year’s end.