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EU to assess five critical minerals in low carbon quest

(EurActiv, 31 Oct 2019) The European Commission is assessing five new minerals for possible inclusion in a revised list of critical raw materials to be published next year, as it seeks to bolster supply chains for a low emissions economy, a senior Commission official said.

The European Union, the United States and Japan are among Western powers to have compiled lists of the most strategic minerals in response to China’s dominance of minerals used in electric vehicles and other high-tech applications.

Minerals are judged critical or strategic because of their scarcity, their use in high-tech economies and the risk of supply disruption.

The EU has had a list since 2011, which it has revised every three years.

An update is expected in the first part of 2020, as the EU executive seeks to define the minerals most relevant to today’s economy and how the import-reliant bloc can guarantee supplies.

Peter Handley, head of the Commission’s resource efficiency unit, told Reuters the Commission was assessing arsenic, cadmium, hydrogen, strontium and zirconium ahead of the publication of the new list.

Cadmium is valued in Europe because of its use in some battery technology and hydrogen is “crucial for decarbonisation of EU industry”, Handley said.

Zirconium is used in the nuclear industry, while strontium has applications in magnets. Arsenic is used in semi-conductors.

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EurActiv, 31 Oct 2019: EU to assess five critical minerals in low carbon quest