CRM Alliance Quarterly Newsletter - Winter Edition 2021
Dear Valued Readers,

Welcome to the Winter 2021 edition of the CRM Alliance Quarterly newsletter.

We wish you a pleasant reading!

In this issue
CRM Alliance Updates
  • CRM Alliance webinar
  • BeST BeResponsible webinar and new website
  • Cobalt Institute New Head of Responsible Sourcing and Sutainability
  • Euro Alliages 2050 Vision
  • Vanitec next important event
  • IMA report on Life Cycle and monthly newsletter
  • JSW receives supports from Polish government
  • Indium Corporation receives awards
  • Beta writes a column for CRM Alliance
  • MMTA 2021 Conference
  • T.I.C. Open Letter and 2020 Annual Review
  • Amerocap speaks at CRM Alliance webinar
Public Consultations

Daily uses of CRMs
  • ERMA launches first cluster
  • Commission 2021 Work Programme
  • Sustainable Batteries Regulation
  • EU adopts Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability 
  • Member States agree on GHG emissions reduction target
  • Results of the open consultation session of EU’s Trade Policy review
  • A Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in Europe 
  • Australia intensifies trade talks with the EU 
  • EU draft Taxonomy delegated act largely contested 
CRM Alliance Updates
CRM Alliance webinars
CRM Alliance held a webinar in November 2020 on the EU Action Plan for CRMs to discuss the challenges and opportunities related to recycling CRMs.

On 24 February, the CRM Alliance will also host a webinar on EU Taxonomy and its impact on CRMs

BeST BeResponsible webinar and new website
BeST held a webinar in French on the Beryllium Voluntary Product Stewardship Program and continues the translation of its website that was recently launched. 
New Head of Responsible Sourcing and Sutainability
The Cobalt Institute welcomed Susannah McLaren as Head of Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability.

Heading Here
Euro Alliages has released its 2050 Vision on how the European ferro-alloy and silicon sector will contribute to achieving the EU’s 2050 climate goals.
Vanitec next important event

100th Vanitec Meeting will take place on 12-14 April 2021 online.
IMA report on Life Cycle and monthly newsletter
IMA issues a report “Life Cycle Assessment of Magnesium Components in Vehicle Construction”: IMA commissioned the German Aerospace Center Institute of Vehicle Concepts (DLR) to update the 2013 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The report demonstrates that lightweight magnesium components in transport applications, such as aircraft and automobiles, result in lower greenhouse gas emissions over the entire life cycle when compared to similar aluminium parts.

You can also view IMA's free monthly newsletter.
JSW receives supports from Polish government
JSW received a preferential loan of more than 38 million euros by the Polish Development Fund to overcome the challenges provoked by the pandemic.
Indium Corporation receives awards
The Indium Corporation was awarded with several prizes.

Beta writes a column for CRM Alliance newsletter

Since December 2020, Beta started writing a column for the CRM Alliance newsletter on EU Funding for CRM related projects.

MMTA 2021 Conference
MMTA announces the new date of the MMTA’s International Minor Metals Conference, which will take place from June 28 until June 30, 2021.

T.I.C. Open Letter and 2020 Annual Review
The Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.) published an open letter to the Wall Street Journal defending Dodd-Frank Section 1502 (Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act requires public companies in the U.S. to disclose their use of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TGs) in their products and determine if they are sourced in an ethical manner). Also, T.I.C. published its 2020 Annual Review.

Amerocap speaks at CRM Alliance webinar

Amerocap took part in the CRM Alliance webinar in November 2020 to present its project in Europe.
ERMA launches first cluster
In December 2020, the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) launched its first Cluster on Rare Earth Magnets. This first cluster is tasked with identifing challenges and regulatory bottlenecks that are present in the value chain and, on this basis, developing new recommendations. The second cluster will consider raw and advanced materials for energy storage and conversion in stationary and non-stationary applications.
ERMA was officially launched in September 2020. The launch of ERMA marked the beginning of strong cooperation between relevant companies, trade associations, NGOs and the European Commission in the field of (critical) raw materials.
ERMA has been designed to help the EU overcome challenges related to (critical) raw materials that could endanger the green and digital transition. ERMA members will be invited to share their opinion on how to build strategic autonomy and reduce EU dependency on third countries by diversifying trading partners. Europe’s demand for rare earths used in permanent magnets will increase by ten-fold by 2050 as they are crucial for renewables and other technologies such as batteries, radars and robots. Therefore, international partnerships with countries such as Australia and Canada or the United States are essential.
A large number of CRM Alliance members have become members of ERMA. This is the case for Amerocap, Cobalt Institute, Euroalliages, International Antimony Association and Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa S.A.

 Commission 2021 Work Programme
The European Commission has started to work on its 2021 Work Programme, which was published in October last year. The document presents a list of policy objectives and initiatives that will be the guiding actions for the European Commission to undertake during this upcoming year. The work program discusses six key areas: The EU Green Deal, A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, An Economy that Works for the People, A stronger Europe in the World, Promoting our European Way of Life, and A New Push for European Democracy.
The CRM industry will be predominantly affected by policy initiatives within the EU Green Deal and the Circular Economy Package. Industry will need to conform to rising sustainability standards and develop new tools to move towards sustainable energy solutions over fossil fuels.
  • The CRM Alliance will closely watch the following initiatives this year:
  • Circular economy package – circular electronics (non-legislative, Q4 2021)
  • Circular economy package – Sustainable Products Initiative including a revision of the Ecodesign Directive (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q4 2021)
  • Updating the new industrial Strategy for Europe (non-legislative, Q2 2021)
  • Follow-up on White Paper on Foreign Subsidies: i) levelling the playing field (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 207 TFEU, Q2 2021); ii) public procurement (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 207 TFEU, Q2 2021)
  •  Civil, defence and space industries – Action plan on synergies between civil, defence and space industries (non-legislative, Q1 2021)
  • Design requirements and consumer rights for electronics – New design requirements and consumer rights for electronics (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Article 114 TFEU, Q4 2021)
  • Fair Economy Package - Communication on a new occupational safety and health strategy framework (non-legislative, Q2 2021)
  • Revision of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 on Shipments of Waste
  • Revision of Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Pack-aging Waste Directive in order to reinforce the essential requirements for packaging to be placed on the EU market
  •  Revision of the Energy and Environmental Aid Guideline 

EU adopts Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability 
On 14 October, the European Commission officially adopted its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.Through this initiative, the EU aims to create a toxic free environment for consumers and nature, by making chemicals sustainable and safe by design. To accomplish this objective, the Commission will deploy financial support through Horizon Europe, cohesion policy, the LIFE programme and other EU funding programmes.
The strategy advocates for higher recycling rates of chemicals in Europe. To do so, the Commission will take regulatory actions to minimise the presence of certain chemicals in products on the European market by banning toxic substances while making exceptions based on the establishment of an essential use criteria. Additionally, the strategy recognizes the need to establish safe and sustainable supply chains for some critical chemicals, such as raw materials, intermediates or active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Some concerns have arisen regarding the wording used in the strategy. The concept of “essential use criteria” is open for debate because it intends to lead to some advantages but could also lead to negative effects. This is especially the case for the metal industry which could face important ramifications, as explained by Adam McCarthy, president of the Cobalt Institute.
Furthermore, some of the proposed measures might significantly increase the financial and administrative burden on the chemical industry, and undermine the level playing field. Additionally, the strategy does not recognize the non-substitutional use of CRMs in key applications, which was a recommendation made by the CRM Alliance in the feedback provided for the public consultation. 

Member States agree on GHG emissions reduction target
During the past four months, climate ambitions have been on the rise in Europe. The European Commission and the European Parliament were pushing for different emissions reduction targets but in the end, Member States took the decision to adopt a 55% emissions reduction target.
In September 2020, in its communication on “Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambition”, the European Commission proposed to scale up the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target from 40% to 55%. One month later, the European Parliament voted in favour of a 60% emissions reduction target with the aim to drive ambitions upwards.
This escalation of the emissions reduction target was finally settled at the European Council Summit in December 2020, in which EU Heads of States endorsed a net emissions reduction target of at least 55%. This decision is motivated by the belief that the EU needs to protect its industries. The increased target to reduce carbon emissions could endanger the capacity of industries, especially those dealing with critical raw materials, to keep up with new norms attached to such ambition. 

Results of the open consultation session of EU’s Trade Policy review
In December 2020, the European Commission published the results of the 414 contributions submitted in its open consultation on EU trade policy. There was a general consensus on:
(1)   the need for the EU to support and ensure an open, fair, and sustainable trade system;
(2)   the importance to improve the resilience of the trade policy focusing on the EU supply chains’ vulnerabilities; and
(3)   the need to reform the WTO system so to ensure the continuity of a rules-based international trade system.
Additionally, many respondents highlighted the need to simplify and increase the coherency of EU policies and to diversify suppliers of CRMs. The CRM Alliance participated in the consultation and generally agrees with these conclusions. Furthermore, in line with the CRM Alliance position, in its contribution, the European Parliament called on the Commission to identify raw materials critical for the Green transformation. This would lead to increase their supply chain resilience.
The Commission now plans to produce a Communication on the new EU Trade Policy, which is expected for 17 February 2021.
 A Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in Europe 
Over the past couple of months, the EU has intensified its work on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. In December, the European Parliament established the conditions that would lead to an agreement on a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in Europe, ahead of the European Commission official proposal.
The European Parliament would not support CBAM in the form of a tax, as this could potentially push industries to shift their production to countries where CO2 emissions are not priced, encouraging carbon leakage. The steel industry is particularly sensitive to this phenomenon as the constraints linked to EU climate policy are particularly harsh on this industry, compared to policies in any other part of the world.
In fact, as explained by Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the CBAM intends to prevent the very high risk of carbon leakage faced by the European steel industry, such as the loss of sales to cheaply priced carbon-intense imports or moving the production to third countries. In addition, the European Parliament is committed to only endorse a CBAM that is compatible with WTO rules, and a tax would not suit this condition.
The mining and processing of certain critical raw materials and metals is largely happening outside Europe already. Therefore, selling these products on the European market when CBAM is in place could become too expensive, encouraging businesses to stop selling in the EU.
The Commission plans to table proposals for a CBAM as an EU own resource in the second quarter of 2021.

Australia intensifies trade talks with the EU 
Trade talks between Australia and the EU have heavily intensified in the past few months. The EU is anticipating a rising demand for critical raw materials to lead the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy. In that context, the EU is looking for stable allies and Australia has shown perseverance in demonstrating how it would be able to meet Europe’s demand and vice-versa.
In November 2020, EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel met with the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, and agreed to further cooperate on critical raw materials and on the promotion of diverse critical technology markets. This meeting happened in the framework of the negotiations for a future EU-Australia Trade Agreement, which was launched in 2018. In addition, recent diplomatic talks between EU and Australian officials also testify of the desire to build a strong partnership in the field of critical raw materials.
The relationship between the EU and Australia was first formalised through a bilateral Framework Agreement in 2017. The EU’s negotiating directives on energy and raw materials stipulate that the agreement should “aim at awarding specific rules of exploration, licenses for exploration and production, specific market access rules, non-discrimination rules for third-party access to transmission and distribution networks, and dispositions on renewable energies.”
Talks between the two blocks seem to be evolving in a positive way regarding the cooperation on critical raw materials. The date of the next round of negotiation for a future EU-Australia Trade Agreement, remains unannounced but is likely to happen soon. 
  EU draft Taxonomy delegated act largely contested 
The EU has delayed the publication of the delegated act on the Taxonomy Regulation, which was originally due 1 January 2021. The postponement follows an overwhelming amount of feedback received during the public consultation period as well as a fierce opposition from many industries.
The Taxonomy Regulation establishes an EU-wide classification framework intended to provide businesses and investors with a “common language” to identify to what degree economic activities can be considered environmentally sustainable. In other words, it aims to provide clarity and transparency to investors, financial institutions and companies by establishing criteria to determine the extent to which an activity can be described as environmentally sustainable. These criteria will take the form of delegated acts and are determinant for all industries as they will guide investors interest for the future.
The proposal was largely criticized for being unrealistic and too demanding; many industries would be negatively affected, including the CRM sector. Within its Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials, the European Commission announced they would develop sustainable financing criteria for the mining, extractive, and processing sectors through delegated acts in 2021. However, the CRM industry is currently not covered by the first delegated act on the EU taxonomy. On 24 February, the CRM Alliance will host a webinar where experts are invited to discuss the pros and cons of the EU taxonomy tool and how this might impact the CRM industry.
The European Parliament has threatened to block the proposal.There seems to be a wide agreement that the first delegated act needs to be reviewed to avoid too many sectors being excluded from the Taxonomy regulation.
According to a source from the European Commission, the final version is expected to be published in Spring; however, no official timeline has been disclosed. . 

Public Consultations