The European Commission (EC) has outlined plans for how the EU will compete in the development of new technologies necessary for the green transition against the US and China.

The Critical Raw Minerals Act, proposed by the European Commission on Thursday, seeks to reduce the EU’s dependence on raw minerals imported from beyond the EU. Along with the Net Zero Industry Act, it forms a part of the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan.

The region aims to not only lead the way in cutting emissions but also in producing the necessary technology to do so.

The EU executive set new targets for the bloc, stating that 10% of the raw critical material consumed by EU members, such as lithium and cobalt, should be mined in the region. Additionally, 15% of its needs should be met by recycled sources and 40% of all critical minerals used ought to be processed within the EU.

Diversifying supply

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By GlobalData

The EC has announced plans for no more than 65% of any key raw material to come from any single country as it looks to diversify its supply of minerals. China currently processes 90% of rare earth metals and 60% of lithium.

The EU states that recent global events such as “Covid-19 related supply disruptions, the chips shortage and the energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” demonstrate the need to diversify of raw earth mineral sources.

President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement: “raw materials are vital for manufacturing key technologies for our twin transition, like wind power generation, hydrogen storage or batteries […] it’s in our mutual interest to ramp up production in a sustainable manner and at the same time ensure the highest level of diversification of supply chains for our European businesses.”

According to EU predictions, demand for lithium in the region is expected increase 12-fold by the year 2030.

The EC has announced that a Critical Raw Minerals Board will be set up, composed of member states and the commission, which will oversee the implementation of measures which are set out in the act.

The news comes shortly after the EC announced plans to triple renewables production by 2030, in a series of measures to increase the competitiveness of Europe’s net-zero energy industry.