EU to create central buying agency for rare earth minerals

Published on Wed, 29/03/2023 - 16:55

Rare earth materials such as lithium are the focus of draft legislation to centralise EU purchasing.

The European Union is to set up a central buying agency to secure rare earth minerals, according to draft legislation tabled in Brussels.

The EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) aims to secure the purchase of critical raw materials, such as lithium, cobalt and manganese.

Rare earth minerals are seen as a strategic commodity due to their role in the batteries used in electric vehicles and in energy storage for the renewables sector.

A European Critical Raw Materials Board would be created by the draft legislation, under the aegis of the European Commission.

The new agency would be given the goal to internally produce at least 10% and process at least 40% of the strategic materials needed by the EU each year by 2030.

China has become a major source and supplier of rare earth minerals globally, and the EU’s renewable energy sector must continue to expand in order for the bloc to reach its net zero emissions climate target by 2050.

“It is necessary to take measures to ensure access to a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials in order to safeguard the Union’s economic resilience and strategic autonomy,” the draft EU legislation said.

“Uncoordinated national measures to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials have a high potential of distorting competition and fragmenting the internal market,” the draft added.