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Critical Minerals & EU

Critical Minerals & EU

NORWAY

Norway’s critical minerals strategy released in June 2023 highlights the importance of ensuring access to minerals for Norway, its allies, and partners while reducing reliance on non-European supply chains. This includes faster extraction, geophysical mapping of mineral deposits, and emphasis on environment and sustainability.

The strategy seeks to strengthen cooperation on raw material access and value chains with the EU and European countries.

The Norwegian government is considering a Norwegian state mineral fund with a view to attract private capital to ensure the success of the strategy.

The strategy is complimentary to the European Commission’s Critical Raw Materials Act which came into effect May 23rd, 2024, setting voluntary targets for European domestic capabilities for production, refining and recycling of key raw materials needed for the green and digital transitions by 2030.

Kuniko’s projects in Norway leverage the region’s rich mining history and predominantly focus on brownfield sites. These projects align seamlessly with Norway’s critical minerals strategy, providing support for an accelerated discovery to development process.

European critical raw materials act (MARCH 2023)

Critical raw materials (CRMs) are raw materials of high economic importance for the EU, with a high risk of supply disruption due to their concentration of sources and lack of good, affordable substitutes.

The EU’s demand for base metals, battery materials, rare earths and more are set to increase exponentially as the EU divests from fossil fuels and turns to clean energy systems which necessitate more minerals.

The EU green transition will require the build-up of local production of batteries, solar panels, permanent magnets, and other clean tech. Abundant access to a range of raw materials will be needed to address the corresponding demand.

CRMs are mostly sourced outside the EU. The EU will never be self-sufficient but aims to diversify its supply. Local production is key for the EU’s energy and mobility systems overhaul, which is in part driven by the REPowerEU plan and the 2035 internal combustion engine ban.

The critical raw materials act is therefore an essential piece of the puzzle in this generational societal transition. 

To reduce dependence on third countries to access critical raw materials, the EU is currently discussing some concrete objectives for 2030:

EU EXTRACTION: at least 10% of the EU’s annual consumption from EU extraction

EU PROCESSING: at least 50% of the EU’s annual consumption from EU processing

EU RECYCLING: at least 20% of the EU’s annual consumption from domestic recycling

EXTERNAL SOURCES: not more than 65% of the Union’s annual consumption of each strategic raw material at any relevant stage of processing from a single third country

To achieve this, the EU will step up trade actions, which will include:

  • a Critical Raw Materials Club for all like-minded countries willing to strengthen global supply chains
  • strengthening the World Trade Organization
  • expanding its network of Sustainable Investment Facilitation Agreements and Free Trade Agreements
  • pushing harder on enforcement to combat unfair trade practices

The EU’s objective to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 sets Europe on a responsible path to becoming climate neutral by 2050.

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