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23 May 2024

Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) UK

EU Critical Raw Materials Act comes into force

On 23 May, the EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) enters into force. First proposed in March 2023 along with the Net Zero Industry Act, the CRMA aims to secure Europe’s sustainable and increasingly competitive critical raw materials value chain. The relatively short period between the initial proposal and its enactment indicates the EU’s determination to ‘de-risk’ supply chains for a range of resources it deems are at risk in an increasingly turbulent global environment.

The CRMA places non-binding targets for the EU’s internal capacity for extraction, processing, refining and recycling of ‘Strategic Raw Materials’, such as nickel, tungsten, and cobalt, designated as key for the green and digital transition. To achieve this, the CRMA qualifies certain projects as of strategic value, even those outside the EU, that will benefit from more access to financing, expedited permitting processes and matchmaking with buyers...

Environmental groups have voiced some concerns in response to the CRMA, particularly over a lack of consumption reduction targets, sufficient protections of environmental and human rights, and a just approach [towards] communities affected by mining...

Access to such Critical Raw Materials has usually been subject to complex, lengthy, and often opaque supply chains, and countries’ reliance on them is not necessarily new. What has changed in the EU and UK is the importance and scale needed for new technologies required for climate action...

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EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) enters into force amid civil society concerns

European raw materials laws, policies and partnerships & the fast and fair transition