Column: Europe turbo charges its critical minerals drive – by Andy Home (Reuters – March 26, 2023)

LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) – The European Union has unveiled the accelerator in its drive to reduce the bloc’s import dependency for critical minerals and metals.

The Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) “will significantly improve” Europe’s domestic extraction, processing and recycling capacity for metals such as lithium and rare earths, according to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.

The Act comes with targets for production and for reducing dependency on any single third country. China currently dominates the supply chain for many of the entries on Europe’s list of “strategic” metals. The EU is also playing catch-up with the United States, which is already investing heavily in critical metals capacity under the aegis of the Defense Production Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Europe may, however, have given itself a competitive edge by moving to streamline project permitting, a tortuous process that often drags on for years before the first shovel hits the ground.

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