The Critical Raw Materials Alliance recently held its bi-annual meeting in Brussels. The Alliance met with the consultants TNO, who are tasked with completing the new CRM list for 2017.
The raw materials to be assessed for this new list have been divided as follows: abiotic materials, platinum group metals, rare earths, additional abiotic materials, other biotic materials, specialist and rare wood species, and additional non-energy materials. It is important to note that rare earth and platinum group elements will be assessed on an individual basis, in contrast to the current list in which these elements are grouped together.
- The consultants are exploring what would happen if the ‘criticality’ bottleneck is placed across the first two stages of the value chain i.e. from the extraction phase to the smelter
- Substitution will be used in the methodology in the following areas: in economic risk, import reliance, by-products, and price levels. It will also look at substitution from the perspective of the raw material itself, rather than the application of that material.
- Import reliance is part of the methodology on wholesale activities.
- Trade barriers, such as export restrictions and those barriers defined by the OECD, will be used in the methodology to help determine the criticality of a particular material.
- The EU Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) will not alter its current methodology (used for the previous lists) unless it is shown that the methodology is significantly misguided. There is a strong desire to have old and new lists ‘comparable’.
- Therefore, the main structure of the previous CRM study i.e. supply risk and economic importance will remain.
- Factsheets per material will be published late 2016/early 2017. They will include a forward-looking element, such as the future supply and demand of a particular CRM. The list itself will remain a ‘snapshot in time’ to be reviewed and updated at regular intervals into the future.