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28 May 2014 | Will Green
The European Commission (EC) has produced a list identifying 20 raw materials that are critical to the economy.
The Critical Raw Materials list includes rare earth elements, metals and coking coal that are vital to industrial processes but whose supply is high risk due to their concentration in a few countries.
The list will be used strategically to “contribute to the implementation of the EU industrial policy and to ensure that European industrial competitiveness is strengthened through actions in other policy areas”.
The materials on the list have a diverse range of uses including in mobile phones, refining metals, wind turbines, solar panels and flat screen TVs.
According to a report China contributes 49 per cent of the global supply of critical raw materials, by far the largest proportion, with the US in second place with 9 per cent, and Brazil and South Africa joint third with 6 per cent. Russia is fourth with 4 per cent.
EC vice-president Antonio Tajani, commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship, said: "The Commission, in cooperation with member states and stakeholders, is taking a wide range of measures to implement this strategy. These include a reinforced raw materials diplomacy and trade policy, fostering sustainable supply within the EU and boosting resource efficiency and promoting recycling. The EU list we presented today aims at contributing to the implementation of the EU industrial policy and to ensure that European industrial competitiveness is strengthened."
The full list includes borates, chromium, coking coal, magnesite, phosphate rock, silicon metal, antimony, beryllium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, indium, magnesium, natural graphite, niobium, platinum group metals, heavy rare earths, light rare earths and tungsten.
The list builds on one first produced in 2010, which included 14 raw materials.