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Sunday, 29 September 2013 19:11

ERECON initiative

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ERECON initiative

 

Rare earth elements (REE) are critical resources for many hi-tech civil applications including “green energy” technologies, such as wind power, efficient lighting, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and other purposes. Rare earth elements (REE) supply has been a focal point of the European Commission’s Raw Materials Initiative. The Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry aims to enhance and accelerate improvements of rare earth supply and security, through focusing the attempts of various European actors in a European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON). The importance of the ERECON initiative is significant. This undertaking to establish a high level professional network will go a long way towards determining Europe's ability to pursue its agenda of becoming a sustainable and competitive economy. ERECON will be divided into three Working Groups with the following mandates:

 

Working Group I: Opportunities and road blocks for primary supply of rare earths in Europe

Working Group II: Closing the loop: European rare earth resource efficiency and recycling

Working Group III: European end-user industries and rare earth supply trends and challenges.

 

Working Group I will have its first meeting on October 23.

 

More information can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/raw-materials/erecon/expertise/working-group-1_en.htm.

Luleå Declaration 2009


The importance of sustainable mineral resources supply was also highlighted in the Luleå Declaration. From October 12 to 14 2009, a conference on sustainable mineral resources within the European Union was held in Luleå, Sweden, under the title “European higher education and research on metallic and mineral raw materials”.  The organisations present at the conference strongly supported the EU Raw Materials Initiative, it being the right step at the right time. As a result, the Luleå Declaration was adopted, which was meant as a response from the European extractive industry, governmental institutions and academia across Europe. It emphasises the necessity of a common agenda concerning research and higher education in the field of sustainable supply of metallic and non-metallic raw materials. The organisations present at the Conference, listed below, agreed on the following declaration:


• The past and future society without minerals and metals is unthinkable.
• The global growth of the population and the growth of the world economy put strong emphasis on securing future mineral supply.
• There is great potential for a sustainable supply of raw materials from EU resources, but we need access to land, an improved knowledge base and R&D to improve methods for exploration, extraction and recycling.
• European industry is highly competitive and a high-tech technology provider for the world. It is important that the mineral sector is recognized in the EU land access planning and in the EU R&D programmes for maintaining this leadership.
• The future mineral supply is a great challenge for the society at large and the extractive industry is committed to achieve a sustainable mineral supply to meet future challenges by excellence in research through EU-funding.
• A sustainable supply of minerals and metals also involves balancing the impact on the environment and climate. This could be reached by improvement of resource and energy efficiency and by increased use of secondary raw materials. It is important to stimulate innovation and R&D in all these areas.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 17:48

Need of a coherent European Minerals Policy

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Need of a coherent European Minerals Policy - posted by MinPol on December 31 2012. The minerals economy provides an essential contribution to employment and value added and thus is crucial for the European Union industry. Minerals are the most important link in the value chain of industrial goods production, which plays a prominent role as a source of prosperity in Europe. A secure supply with mineral resources for the European industry/economy is absolutely necessary. However, a structural change has taken place on the global mineral markets.

The old rule of thumb – 20 percent of the world population in Europe, USA and Japan consuming more than 80 percent of the total minerals production – is not valid any more. With the integration of India, the People’s Republic of China and other populous emerging countries like Brazil and Russia into the world economy, today more than half of the world’s population claims an increasing share in raw materials.

Thus the global demand for (particular metallic)) minerals stand at the bottom of a new growth curve. It is assumed that by 2030 the worldwide need for raw materials will have doubled. Safeguarding the supply with raw materials on the basis of a minerals policy will be a permanent challenge for the European Union and all European countries. Appropriate measures for securing the supply with raw materials have to be taken. A successful coherent minerals policy will have to take over essential tasks to solve these problems. In particular, enhancement of existing instruments like resource efficiency and new technologies can guarantee domestic security of supply and provide a sustainable strategic European minerals policy.