Small miners aim for European supply chain for electric vehicles independent from China – by Clara Denina and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters – July 16, 2021)

LONDON (Reuters) – Growing demand for electric vehicles has spurred small-scale miners of the lithium, cobalt and rare earths that automakers rely on to develop mines and build refining capacity in Europe to reduce their reliance on China.

Efforts by the United States and Europe to build a secure and independent supply chain for the key minerals used in electric vehicles (EVs), wind turbines and aircraft engines have accelerated as the pandemic led to shutdowns and shortages.

With companies under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint, processing metals into goods that are circulated within the continent and do not have to travel far is an environmental goal.

At least four smaller companies are building facilities to process ore in Europe’s special economic zones over the next five years, with more planning to build mines on the continent and process materials on site, company officials said.

Mkango Resources, a rare earth developer with projects in Malawi, is working with chemicals company Grupa Azoty Pulawy to build a separation plant in Poland’s Special Economic Zone, benefiting from tax exemptions and state aid.

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