The importance of ensuring affordability and availability of raw material supplies to European businesses has been recognised as necessary for remaining globally competitive. As Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight said at the EC press conference last week: “A secure and sustainable supply of raw materials is a prerequisite for a resilient economy”. Euromines members invest heavily in Europe, reducing their customers’ dependence on foreign imports and thereby helping to secure a sustainable supply of the raw materials they need.
The EU mineral raw materials industry is the base for other EU industries, ensuring a minimum of supply of metals and minerals, some of them identified as critical and strategic for the value chains required for the European economy and its transition to a low carbon economy. The example of steel value chain shows the importance of metals and minerals for this transition.
Steel is the most fundamental material used across the board, but by combining even small amounts of other minerals or metals, producers can create stronger, lighter, more heat resistant materials or ones with more or less electrical conductivity for the different parts or products. For example, alloys that are lightweight are perfect for aircraft, and heat resistant component are essential for keeping hot engines of many machines safe for use.
Renewable sources of energy are essential to humanity’s future, and mining is essential to the growth and development of this industry. A single wind turbine can contain up to several hundred tons of steel, several tons of copper and aluminium, as well as steel reinforced concrete for the base. Today, the main materials used in many kinds of infrastructure are concrete, steel and steel alloys. These are made from raw materials like iron, nickel, aluminium, graphite, manganese and chromium.
Electricity consumption in the raw materials sector will rise due to the switch to greener energy and to higher quality products leading to energy savings in the downstream processing industries. The EU raw materials sector provides the basis for many industrial sectors and their decarbonisation strategies by providing the materials as key enablers.
The European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP)(link is external) brings together all the major stakeholders in the European steel industry. Please see the recording of the recent ESTEP webinar on the Clean Steel Partnership (CSP) roadmap here(link is external).
Read more about the steel value chain in PDF here.