The European Commission is eyeing opportunities within the EU’s minerals and mining sector, and has put forward, in its Strategic Action Plan (SAP) on batteries, a comprehensive set of targeted measures to make Europe a global leader in sustainable battery production and use.
The SAP focuses on including raw materials research and innovation, financing and investment, standardization, regulation, and trade and skills development to secure a sustainable supply of battery raw materials.
In his opinion piece in the EU Observer, Raw Materials: ‘holy grail’ of 21st century industrial policy, Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, said that Europe has world-leading technologies as well as high environmental and social standards, and that the EU aims to ensure that mining is no longer the polluting industry of the past.
“Our strategy is not to displace environmental costs to other parts of the world. Our strategy is to see sustainable mining with high-quality jobs created in Europe as well as transparent information about the environmental footprint and recyclability,” Sefcovic wrote.
According to the European Commission’s 2016 data, actual primary production by the EU member states represents only a fraction of global production: 0.1% for lithium; 1.1% for natural graphite; 7.7% for cobalt and 13.8% for nickel.
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