Column: EU’s industrial strategy is being wrecked by coronavirus – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – May 20, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – German zinc producer Metallwerk Dinslaken (MWD) has just announced it is closing. You’d be forgiven for not noticing.

The news didn’t register with the London Metal Exchange (LME) zinc price. The company is too small with just 41 employees and annual production of 25,000 tonnes, a metallic drop in the 13.5-million-tonne global zinc ocean.

It’s also a secondary processor, converting scrap back into refined metal, and the notoriously opaque recycling sector doesn’t feature much in zinc’s market narrative. Yet companies such as MWD are supposed to be the beating heart of the European Union’s (EU) newly-unveiled industrial strategy.

The “European Green Deal”, aimed at climate neutrality by 2050, will “need a secure supply of clean and affordable energy and raw materials”. (“A new industrial strategy for Europe”, European Commission, March 20, 2020).

The EU’s revitalised “raw materials initiative” places great emphasis on the role of recycling as a way of reducing reliance on imported metals to feed the region’s manufacturing sector.

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