Critical minerals and the UK: 5 things to know – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – January 7, 2020)

A recent report from the UK Office of Science and Technology states that while the UK is dependent on imported critical minerals for a number of sectors there is no specific strategy for their supply, a worrying thought considering the implications of recent trade wars. We take a look at five talking points from the report.

The UK has no specific critical mineral strategy

Critical minerals are used to create products of strategic importance for many UK sectors, but the UK has no specific critical minerals strategy and no single department has responsibility for policy regarding these important materials.

Speaking at a conference in May 2019, Mineral Products Association CEO Nigel Jackson said: “Mineral products make an important contribution to the UK economy and underpin almost every aspect of our way of life, from our homes, schools and hospitals to the transport and energy infrastructure we take for granted.

“But the ongoing supply of these essential minerals cannot be assumed. They need to be planned, monitored and managed to ensure that the right materials are made available in the right place and at the right time to ensure a sustainable, cost-effective supply is maintained to meet the nation’s needs. “

Despite this current lack of a specific critical mineral strategy, the UK government has set out some plans to address the security of its critical mineral supply. These include the plans set out in 2018 to reinvigorate the 2012 Resource Security Action Plan, which includes improving government oversight of critical minerals.

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