Metals industry asks the EU to invest more in minerals processing

Metal producers and consumers in Europe have urged the European Union (EU) to increase its investments in expanding processing capacity for critical minerals necessary for the energy transition, including those used in electric vehicles (EVs). In a letter to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, industry association Eurometaux requested that the EU’s Innovation Fund, which primarily focuses on decarbonizing energy-intensive industries, should also incorporate critical minerals into its mandate.

The letter stressed the growing importance of these minerals, especially as China and the United States increasingly dominate the production and processing of these resources. China, in particular, controls a significant portion of cleantech manufacturing and critical minerals processing capacities, making it essential for Europe to boost its capabilities in this sector.

The letter was signed by prominent companies, including Rio Tinto, Norsk Hydro, Albemarle, Umicore, Northvolt, Solvay, and Aurubis. It suggested that the EU Innovation Fund could support the processing of critical minerals by replicating the model of the EU’s Hydrogen Bank, which was established to bridge the cost gap between renewable hydrogen and fossil fuels.

The letter also criticized the EU’s Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform, stating that it is not sufficiently focused or targeted to provide the necessary support for the critical minerals value chain’s scaling, conversion, processing, and refining operations.

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