During this time of uncertainty, the European extractive sector is still operating and providing critical and strategical mineral raw materials for the EU economy while taking all necessary health and safety measures. The crisis management plans in the sector companies have proven to be resilient enough to ensure the health and safety of employees and ensure continued production and supply of mineral raw materials.
The biggest impact comes from the break-down of value chain logistics and from a decrease of consumption from EU internal downstream users since, under normal circumstances, the mineral raw materials sector can provide the European industry and compensate for lacking imports. Access to ships and harbours has been and continues to be an issue.
The current situation clearly shows that the overall European economy’s dependence on mineral raw materials from China is a threat to Europe’s economy. We would like to highlight that Europe has its own mineral resources, world-class deposits and still major potential. By increasing domestic mineral production, Europe becomes less dependent and improves its sustainable supply chain.
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.
Case Study: Security of Supply for EU Medical Sector
Europe’s metals and minerals play a key role in contributing to the pharmaceutical and medical sector when it comes to resources used to develop drugs, supplements and medical technology.
The rapid spread of the Coronavirus has created alarming health concerns across the Globe, but it has also led to serious economic issues. The global crisis brings a lack of security supply for key value chains. The European mineral raw materials industry plays a critical role in ensuring the manufacturing of medical devices in Europe.
We have become dependent on highly specialised metals and alloys that require a vast array of minerals and metals. Some are relatively rare metals, yet essential in the manufacturing of advanced technological products including medical devices. In order to create some of these products, mineral raw materials need to undergo a transformation process from the mining industry into a wide variety of other industries throughout Europe.
Mineral raw materials are used in a variety of pharmaceutical applications and are essential ingredients in supplements that help keep our human bodies functioning well or increase recovery speed after illness.
Metals and minerals mined in Europe contribute to the advancement of modern medicine, medical technology and the pharmaceutical industry. They are the irreplaceable building blocks of our modern medical world, without which it would cease to exist in its modern form.
Support for the EU Economy, Support for the EU Mineral Raw Materials Industry
Euromines welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to support the EU economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The recommendations of the European mineral raw materials industry for further EU actions include:
In the short term it would be important
- To recognize the sector as a “system relevant”/ critical sector for the economy and employment and not shut its operations down.
- To ensure that the logistics are maintained as smoothly as possible to ensure in-time delivery of vital mineral raw materials to the global EU industry.
- In some countries, access to PPEs is difficult, and there is serious profiteering going on. This issue should be addressed.
In the long term, after the lockdown, it would be important to develop a policy which would be focused on
- Securing mineral raw material supply for the EU manufacturing industry and to avoid in the future a too-high dependence on imports, which, as seen, can cause major economic disruptions.
- Ensuring the right framework conditions for the EU raw materials sector to be able to operate under competitive conditions and to support the sector in its ongoing transition to a low-carbon economy for which considerable investments are necessary and which might have to be delayed, given the current expected economic downturn.