On 21 March 2018, the first bi-annual CRM Day took place at the Renaissance Hotel in Brussels.
The event, entitled “Challenges to Primary & Secondary Production of CRMs”, gathered interested stakeholders and government representatives.
The speakers of the two panels identified the main challenges to primary and secondary production of CRMs and opened the floor to a constructive dialogue on ways to address these obstacles.
After a brief welcoming introduction by Mr. Maurits Bruggink – Secretary General of the CRM Alliance, Mr. Kalin Tomov, Head of the Competitiveness Sector at the Bulgarian Permanent Representation, gave an interesting keynote speech underling the role and importance of CRMs for the EU industry and the need to develop a robust approach towards CRMs in order to guarantee the EU’s strategic independence. Mr. Tomov also underlined the importance of developing both primary and secondary production of CRMs as complementary tools.
The first panel kicked off with a representation of selected findings from MINLEX study and SCRREEN project in the context of the impacts of permitting on CRM primary production. Ms. Blažena Hamadová presented the results of the MINLEX study which features a complete and comprehensive study of laws and permitting procedures governing mining in the Member States of the European Union.
The second speaker, Mr. Richard Clemmey from Tertiary Minerals plc, presented the concrete obstacles encountered by the company in one of its mining projects concerning fluorspar . The main challenges identified concern the lack of a clear timeline on resolution, process too complex and lengthy with various delays and setbacks, uncertainty of success.
The second panel, dedicated to secondary production of CRMs, featured a first presentation by Mr. Jan Tygat, Director Government Affairs EU-Benelux at UMICORE. Mr. Tygat identified three main challenges to secondary production of CRMs in the context of the production of portable Li-ion Batteries: (i) collection of waste; (ii) transport of hazardous waste and (iii) fate of final fraction of recycling.
The last speaker, Mr. Bert Witkamp – EAFO & AVERE Project Manager, addressed the development of electrical vehicles and its implications for Rare Earths and for battery metals such as Nickel and Cobalt. Finally, Mr. Witkamp described the REE4EU project on recycling of Rare Earth Elements from Permanent Magnets.
The event concluded with a presentation by Mr. Martin Tauber, President of the CRM Alliance, on the Charter on Critical Raw Materials Policy, recently developed by the CRM Alliance. The Charter outlines core actions considered relevant for CRMs and aims to provide recommendations to the EU and the wider stakeholder community on the future CRM policy.
The Charter on Critical Raw Materials Policy and further information on related activities will follow on our website in the upcoming months.