European Steel, Wind Industries Want EU to Expand Critical Minerals List

The European steel and wind industry associations Eurofer and WindEurope issued a joint statement on Thursday urging the European Union to improve access to critical minerals for clean energy in its upcoming Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), including materials that are not already included, like glass fibre. The EU is set to unveil the CRMA on March 8 to secure the bloc’s supply of raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, manganese and rare earths needed for energy transition technologies.

“The CRMA must break Europe’s dependency on a handful of exporting countries,” said a joint statement from industry groups WindEurope and Eurofer.

The two groups said both glass fibre and scrap metal should be included in the critical minerals category of materials needed for green transition. Europe is dependent on China for rare earths and core materials for making glass fibre.

Rare earths are used for permanent magnets in EVs and wind turbines while glass fibre is used for wind turbine blades.

“The act must cover all the key materials needed in industries delivering the green transition. That means secondary materials such as glass fibre as well as raw materials such as rare earths,” said WindEurope Chief Executive Dickson.

The two sectors are interdependent – steel is used for building wind turbine towers while wind energy will be a key driver to help the steel sector cut its carbon footprint.

The two industry associations also underlined that scrap steel has been overlooked as critical to Europe.

“Despite its critical importance for a successful decarbonization of the steel sector and its value chain, scrap is the most exported waste stream from the EU to third countries,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Internal Market Breton this week called for European financiers to provide more funding to suppliers of the minerals.

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