JRC assesses critical raw materials for Europe’s green and digital future
The JRC publishes the results of assessments of selected raw materials, with factsheets and reports presenting the criticality of each.
The package also includes a foresight report, translating the EU’s climate-neutrality scenarios for 2030 and 2050 into the estimated demand for raw materials.
It identifies those materials most likely to have a supply risk in the future, for several strategic sectors in the EU. Critical raw materials are found in several green technologies, including electric vehicle batteries.
The findings contribute to the Commission’s fourth list of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) for the EU. The list is part of a communication laying out an action plan to overcome the challenges posed to the secure and sustainable supply of raw materials.
The raw materials that have high economic importance and have a high supply risk are called 'critical' raw materials.
They are part of our daily lives. Tungsten makes phones vibrate. Gallium and indium are part of LED technology in lamps. Beryllium is used in fire-sprinkler systems installed in houses, restaurants, hospitals and offices. Tungsten and tantalum make up key components in airplanes and satellites. Niobium is fundamental in diagnostic medical devices.
They are also used in key technologies to achieve a carbon-neutral and digital society, such as batteries, fuel cells, solar and wind energy, robotics, ICT and 3D printing. As more of these technologies are deployed, the EU risks replacing its reliance on fossil fuels with dependency on raw materials.
In order to identify those materials that are most at risk of supply disruption and take action to secure that supply, the European Commission updates a list of critical raw materials (CRMs) for the EU every three years.
The 2020 list of CRMs for the EU contains 30 materials, compared to 27 in 2017, 20 in 2014, and 14 in 2011. Added to the list are:
Bauxite (mainly used for aluminium production);
Lithium (used in electric vehicle batteries);
Titanium (used in aeronautics, space and defence, as well as in medical applications);
Strontium (used in medical applications and in ceramic magnets)
The screening process assessed 83 materials in total (compared to 78 in 2017). Experts assessed the risk of a disruption in supply - both in relation to the source of the material and in terms of the sectors to which a material contributes.
This follows the official assessment methodology established in 2017. The list supports the EU in negotiating trade agreements, challenging trade distortions and in programming the research and innovation funding under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.