Critical materials: EU releases updated critical raw materials list

A revised list of 30 critical raw materials has been revealed by the European Commission (EC), which now includes bauxite, titanium, lithium, and strontium. Dropping off the list is helium, which the EC insists remains a concern as far as supply concentration is concerned and will continue to be monitored. Since the first list was drawn up in 2008, it has been revised in 2014, and again in 2017, when an additional seven raw materials were included to take the total to 27. The EC will release its next update in three years’ time.

Roskill view

While the term ‘critical raw materials’ has no universal definition, it is generally used to refer to metals and minerals which are of high economic importance to a particular industry, sector or spatial area and are at risk of supply shortage. Supply risks can be exacerbated by low substitution potential and low recycling rates.

By adding lithium, titanium, bauxite (aluminium raw material) and strontium to the critical raw materials list, the EC has recognised these commodities’ increasing strategic importance as enablers of clean technologies. Owing to their use in applications including clean mobility, renewable energy and batteries, these commodities will play a crucial role in transitioning the EU to a low-carbon, circular economy. This will be key in meeting the EC’s target to be ‘climate-neutral’ by 2050 and creating an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The target is central to the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement.

The complete list of 30 critical raw materials for 2020 is shown below.

  • Antimony
  • Barytes
  • Bauxite
  • Beryllium
  • Bismuth
  • Borate
  • Cobalt
  • Coking coal
  • Fluorspar
  • Gallium
  • Germanium
  • Hafnium
  • Heavy rare earth elements
  • Indium
  • Light rare earth elements
  • Lithium
  • Magnesium
  • Natural graphite
  • Natural rubber
  • Niobium
  • Platinum group metals
  • Phosphate rock
  • Phosphorus
  • Scandium
  • Silicon metal
  • Strontium
  • Tantalum
  • Titanium
  • Tungsten
  • Vanadium

Roskill’s NEW Lithium: Outlook to 2030, 17th edition report was published in August 2020 and quantifies CO2 emissions for all major lithium producers in 2020, which is featured in a dedicated sustainability chapter. Click here to download the brochure for the report, or to access further information.

Roskill’s Titanium Metal: Outlook to 2030, 10th Edition report was published in July 2020 and includes scenario assessments for the impact of COVID-19 on the titanium supply chain. Click here for further information.

Roskill’s Non-metallurgical Bauxite & Alumina: Outlook to 2029, 10th Edition report was published in December 2019 and includes analysis of recent industry trends in supply, demand, trade and prices, as well as providing forecasts to 2029 and profiles of the main producers. Click here to download the brochure for the report, or to access further information.

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This article was written by Jack Anderson. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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