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Europe takes control: unwrapping the Critical Raw Materials Act

07 June 2024

Round Brown and Grey Metal Heavy Equipment on Sand. credit: Pixabay On 23 May 2024, the European Union took a significant step towards securing its access to critical raw materials (CRMs) with the entry into force of the Critical Raw Materials Act. This landmark legislation aims to ensure a diversified, secure, and sustainable supply of these essential resources, vital for Europe's industrial leadership in clean technologies, digitalisation, defence, and aerospace.

A Matter of Strategic Autonomy

The Act is a direct response to the growing vulnerability of the EU's CRM supply chains. With increasing demand for these resources and a high reliance on imports, Europe's strategic autonomy and industrial competitiveness were (and are) increasingly at risk. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing geopolitical tensions further exposed the fragility of global supply chains, highlighting the need for a more resilient and sustainable approach.

Some quick benchmarks along these lines: 

  • EU extraction capacity of at least 10% of the EU's annual consumption of strategic raw materials;
  • EU processing capacity