The European Union proposes the classification of another six substances as so-called Critical Raw Materials, the EU Commission announced on Thursday. The list, containing raw materials associated with a significant supply risk, has now grown by 140 percent in just 12 years. Among the new materials, added in the process of turning the Critical Raw Materials Act into law, are copper and nickel.
– The list of critical raw materials keeps growing, which is extremely worrisome. Securing our supply of critical materials, while aligning with EU climate goals, demands an entirely new perspective on waste as a sustainable source of materials. This shift requires profound reforms of current legislation, said Ragn-Sells Director of Sustainability Pär Larshans.
Starting in 2011, the EU has regularly pointed out raw materials of particular importance to society and the economy, the supply of which is threatened for various reasons. From the original 14 materials, the so-called Critical Raw Materials list has grown rapidly.
In the European Commission’s proposal for the new Critical Raw Materials Act, 34 materials are listed. This means an increase of the number of designated critical raw materials of 140 percent in just a 12-year span. Among those listed are substances crucial to the green transition, such as the lithium and cobalt needed to produce modern batteries, as well as phosphorus, a key fertiliser nutrient without which farmland would not yield large enough crops.
The new materials listed are copper, nickel, arsenic, helium, manganese, and feldspar. Natural rubber and indium are taken off the list.
Pär Larshans, Sustainability Director, Ragn-Sells
– If we are serious about creating a sustainable society, we have to start using the raw materials we already have, over and over again. Many of the substances listed as critical by the EU already exist in abundance in our waste. We must pave the way for circular solutions to put these materials to use instead of constantly extracting new ones from the earth, said Mr. Larshans.
The extraction and processing of raw materials are the cause of half of all greenhouse gas emissions, as well as 90 percent of water stress and biodiversity loss, according to the UN. At the same time, current legislation and market conditions favour continued virgin extraction, making it difficult for recycled raw materials to compete.
The Critical Raw Materials Act is intended to secure increased domestic production of important raw materials within the EU, making the bloc less dependent on imports from outside of the union. Among other things, it requires member states to step up efforts to extract critical raw materials from waste streams.
For further information, please contact:
Pär Larshans, Director of Sustainability at Ragn-Sells, +46-70-927 29 63, email@example.com
Emma Ranerfors, Press officer at Ragn-Sells, +46-10-723 24 16, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fact box: EU’s Critical Raw Materials
Since 2011, the European Commission has produced a list of critical raw materials (CRM) every three years. The list covers substances that are deemed to be of particular importance to the EU economy, but whose supply is threatened or uncertain. For example, the supply can be determined by geopolitical factors, as in the case of rare earth metals where China controls 98 per cent of the world's known deposits.
The Critical Raw Materials Act lists the following substances or element groups as critical raw materials: Antimony, arsenic, bauxite, baryte, beryllium, bismuth, boron, cobalt, coking coal, copper, feldspar, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, hafnium, helium, heavy rare earth elements, light rare earth elements, lithium, magnesium, manganese, natural graphite, nickel – battery grade, niobium, phosphate rock, phosphorus, platinum group metals, scandium, silicon metal, strontium, tantalum, titanium metal, tungsten, and vanadium.
The environmental company Ragn-Sells converts waste into raw materials that can be used over and over again. Ragn-Sells drives the transition to a circular economy through solutions that reduce its own and other actors' environmental and climate impact. Ragn-Sells wants to be living proof that caring for the earth and business go hand in hand. Ragn-Sells is a family owned corporate group founded in 1881. The company operates in five countries and employs 2,500 persons. In 2021, Ragn-Sells’ turnover was SEK 7.6 billion. www.ragnsells.com