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E.U. updates list of critical raw materials

On 3 September, the European Union (E.U.) updated its list of critical raw materials by incorporating rare earth and other 29 raw materials of significant economic and strategic value into the list and released its action plan, trying to expand the supplier network and reduce dependence on the supply from third countries.

According to the announcement released by European Commission on 3 September, rare earth (light rare earth and heavy rare earth), rare metal (niobium, tantalum, beryllium, hafnium, lithium, strontium, etc.) and scattered elements (indium, gallium, germanium, etc.), which are frequently mentioned as "three rare minerals", as well as titanium, cobalt, phosphorus, coking coal, natural graphite, natural rubber, bauxite and others are included. The announcement pointed out that such raw materials are of significant economic value and supply risk and matter industrial landscape, investment, research and development of the E.U.

The E.U. updated the list of critical raw materials every three years from 2011 on. Compared to the list updated in September 2017, which included 27 raw materials, the updated version removes helium and adds lithium, strontium, titanium and bauxite.

The announcement also indicated that the supply of many raw materials in the list is highly concentrated, such as 98% of rare earth supply to the E.U. is from China. In order to expand the supplier network, the European Commission released the "critical raw material action plan" at the same time, planning to take ten specific measures, including the establishment of "raw material alliance" in the near future, to discuss how to strengthen the toughness of the E.U. in the rare earth magnet industry value chain.

In addition, the E.U. plans to develop the "international strategic partnership" and cooperate with Canada, related African countries and E.U. member countries in 2021 to promote sustainable development of mining industry in such countries, assume social responsibilities and meet the demand from the E.U. for scarce raw materials.