The programme started with the definitions of ‘Critical’ and ‘Essential’ raw materials, emphasising the issues of economic importance and supply risk. Presentations that followed included two by the European Commission (DG Enterprise and DG Trade) and several others by the EU industry and associations that are active in mining and processing, utilising and recycling of Critical Raw Materials. Among the companies and agencies that presented their views were BRGM, DaiEcon Advisors, Euroalliages, The Geological Survey of Finland, Hewlett Packard, LKAB, Natural Resources GP, PwC, Renault, RHI AG, and Umicore.
In addition, there was extensive participation from outside the EU, notably from Canada, Japan and the USA. Talks included those from American Elements, The Basel Convention, The Metal Economics Research Institute of Japan, Natural Resources Canada, Tasman Metals and the U.S. Foreign Military Studies.
Of great value were numerous lively and in-depth questions and answers that followed each session.
The conclusions of the Conference were presented by Euromines President Dr. Thomas Drnek, and were as follows
There should be no ‘per-se’ exclusion of minerals or intermediate products from the review which could be of relevance for the value chain:
- the assessment methodology should be refined; there should be an assessment of the impact of current EU legislation on the competitiveness of the mining and resources sector and the economy as a whole;
- developing a ‘checklist’ for future EU legislative impact assessments with regard to the long-term impact of all EU policies on the sustainable access to raw materials is highly desirable;
- along-term strategy is needed for diversification and integration of environmental costs also into imports, whilst not jeopardising the competitiveness of the eu economy;
- there is need for support on joint research and the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.
KGHM of Poland, Magnesitas Navarras of Spain and Tasman Metals of Canada sponsored the Conference, while Natural Resources GP of Greece offered technical assistance.