Column: Europe races to fix its rare earths import dependency – by Andy Home (Reuters – October 8, 2021)

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Europe is on a mission to wrest back control of its rare earth magnet supply chain from China. Permanent magnets, commonly using a neodymium-iron-boron chemistry, are one of the hidden enablers of modern technology, powering everything from robots to refrigerators to laptop speakers.

They also help power electric vehicle (EV) and wind turbine motors, placing them at the heart of the energy transition. However, as the rest of the world has come to realise, these critical minerals are also critically dependent on China, which dominates the global supply chain from rare earth processing through magnet production.

The United States has already laid out a funding and policy strategy to build out its domestic rare earths capacity. Now it is Europe’s turn.

“A European Call for Action” by the Rare Earth Magnets and Motors Cluster, part of the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA), proposes fast-tracking 1.7 billion euros of investment into projects to kick-start a regional mine-to-magnet processing industry.

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