In a bid to build complete supply chain EU moves to launch alliance of raw materials industry

Alliance of raw materials industry is set to be announced on September 3, Thursday by European Union. It will be launched officially later in the month as a part of plan designed to ensure a secure route of critical raw materials for Europe. The new group for industry will be based on the European Battery Alliance model under which over 200 companies have been brought together, along with governments and many research organizations which work around batteries manufacturing for auto industry. The industry alliance will have metals and rare earth materials as the central focus, specifically those which are used to make magnets for batteries, electric and electronic devices.

Marcos Sefcovic, Vice President in-charge of foresight and inter-institutional relations at the European Commission said, “We are going to imitate a little bit the European Battery Alliance. We want to create the same stakeholder industrial-based cooperative platform for raw materials.”

In an online briefing Sefcovic said, “It is not only for batteries that we need these scarce raw materials, it is also for what I would call the economy of the future: we’re talking about windmills, photovoltaic panels, we’re talking about electronics and robotics.”

Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt, said that European companies are struggling to have a stable raw materials supply in supply chain of battery manufacturing industry. He said, “Today, as we’re starting up the factory, we will still be dependent on a lot of suppliers from outside Europe. This is where we really need to continue strengthening the European ecosystem.”

Sefcovic and Thierry Breton, the commissioner in charge of the internal market are currently drafting an action plan for critical raw materials. The plan is set to have a revised EU list of critical raw materials which would be based on a study done by European Commission “to determine how much of these we’re going to need in 2030 and 2050.” The list of critical raw materials by EU was last updated in 2017. The materials on list are those that have high value for EU economy or they are posing a risk of supply shortages.

Lithium is the latest material to be added to list of critical raw materials by EU. The reason is not shortage of Lithium but because it is a key material for manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries that are used in laptops, smartphones and also electric vehicles. Other materials include strontium, bauxite and titanium. Currently, Portugal is the main European producer of Lithium with 11% market share.

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