CRM Alliance Quarterly Newsletter - Winter Edition 2021
In this issue
CRM Alliance Updates
  • The CRM Alliance will host their next CRM Day 
  • BeST held two BeResponsible webinars
  • The Cobalt Institute joins the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA)  
  • ECGA coordinated workshop
  • Euroalliages’ signed joint paper on energy prices
  • Indium Corporation will present in specialist forum
  • IMA published weekly updates and signed joint position paper
  • JSWA presented activities in post-mining areas
  • The Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.) appoints new Executive Marketing Manager
  • VANITEC will host Energy Storage webinar
  • CRM Alliance holds General Assembly and CRM Day
  • Trio Program for the Council Presidency published
  • European Parliament Plenary adopts ITRE Report on Critical Raw Materials
  • 2021 EU Raw Materials Week takes place in Brussels
  • European Commission launches 3rd Raw Materials Scoreboard 
  • Council publishes progress report on the batteries & waste batteries file
  • Commission adopts Proposal for a Regulation on Waste Shipment
  • United States adds nickel and zinc to critical minerals list

Public Consultations
  • Hazardous waste - updated concentration limits for chemical pollutants
  • Waste shipments – revision of EU rules
  • Chemicals – simplification and digitalisation of labelling requirements
CRM Alliance Updates
The CRM Alliance will host CRM Day

The CRM Alliance will hold their next CRM Day on 23 March 2022 addressing the Sustainable Products Initiative and its potential impact on CRM value chains.
BeST held two BeResponsible webinars
BeST held the webinars “Working safely with beryllium” in English on 09 November and in French on 30 November.
Cobalt Institute joins Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA)
The Cobalt Institute joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA) to promote the sustainable, transparent and responsible production of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
ECGA coordinated webinar

ECGA coordinated a workshop on Lightweighting as a Contribution to the EU Green Deal on 18 November.
Euroalliages signed joint paper on energy prices
Euroalliages’ signed a joint paper calling for immediate support to address the skyrocketing energy prices which endanger the post pandemic recovery.
Indium Corporation will present in specialist forum
Indium Corporation’s Product Specialist Jenny Gallery will present on how to manage heat with AuSn preforms at SPIE Photonics West on 22 to 27 January in San Francisco, U.S.
IMA published weekly updates and signed joint position paper
IMA has been publishing weekly updates on the Magnesium Market in China. IMA has signed a joint position paper warning against catastrophic impact of Chinese magnesium supply shortage.
IMA presented activities in post-mining areas

JSWA presented its activities in post-mining areas during an off-site meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Subcommittee on Just Transition.
T.I.C. appoints new Executive Marketing Manager
The Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.) announced the appointment of Ian Margerison as the new Executive Marketing Manager.
Vanitec will host Energy Storage Webinar

VANITEC will hold their 10th Vanitec Energy Storage webinar on 19 January virtually.
CRM Alliance holds General Assembly and CRM Day

On 22 September, the CRM Alliance hosted their General Assembly and CRM Day, both of which were held virtually. The General Assembly welcomed two new members, ECGA and Rafaella Resources, who presented their activities. Moreover, Mr. Milan Grohol, Policy Officer at the European Commission’s Raw Materials Unit (DG GROW), gave a presentation to the CRM-A members about the Commission’s current actions to ensure the EU’s access to raw materials, as well as the Horizon 2021-2022 funding opportunities for raw materials, amongst other developments.

Regarding the CRM Day, the CRM-A hosted its bi-annual event virtually. The topic of the webinar was the impact of new Due Diligence & Corporate Governance rules on critical raw materials value chains, and included two expert panels with industry representatives from BusinessEurope, SMEUnited, Eurobat, the Cobalt Insitute and the Nickel Institute.

The first expert panel focused on the views of industry on the upcoming EU legislations on Due Diligence and Sustainable Corporate Governance. The panel included Pedro Oliveria from BusinessEurope, Luc Hendrix from SME United and Gert Meylemans from EUROBAT. The panelists discussed the potential impact of the horizontal set of legislative actions and elaborated on what can be done to ensure a coherent package of policies for all industry stakeholders.

The second expert panel addressed the challenges that raw materials could face in the regulatory frameworks on due diligence and corporate responsibility, how they may impact raw material value chains and the possible solutions that already have been implemented or will be implemented in the upcoming years. The panel included Susannah McLaren from the Cobalt Institute and Mark Ministry from the Nickel Institute.

To read the full report of the CRM Day, please click here.
Trio Program for the Council Presidency published
On 13 December 2021, France, the Czech Republic, and Sweden published their programme for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. 

The priorities of the three Presidencies, which will alternate in the leadership of the Council from 1 January 2022 to 30 June 2023, are in line with the European Union's Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024.

The programme includes priorities on the following topics:
-       Protecting Citizens and Freedoms
-       Developing our Economic Base: The European Model for the Future
-       Building a Climate-Neutral, Green, Fair and Social Europe
-       Promoting Europe's Interests and Values in the World

Several priorities address the raw materials industry, such reducing the EU’s strategic dependencies, through diversifying current and future production and supply chains, ensuring strategic stockpiling and fostering favourable conditions for production and investment in the EU. France, the Czech Republic, and Sweden also aim at endorsing the “Strategic Compass” by March 2022.

Moreover, the trio will continue working on the Fit for 55 package, including promoting the transition to a toxic-free environment and a circular economy, the development of sustainable products, as well as more transparent taxation of energy products. 
European Parliament Plenary adopts ITRE Report on Critical Raw Materials
On 24 November, during the European Parliament's plenary session, MEPs voted in favour of MEP Hildegard Bentele's report on "a European Strategy for critical raw materials". The report was adopted by 543 votes to 52 and 94 abstentions.

After intense discussions, the report was published for a vote with 81 amendments that take issue with the following areas:
-       Challenges and opportunities
-       Strategic autonomy and resilience
-       Closing mineral loops
-       Sourcing from the EU
-       Diversification

There are certain amendments worth highlighting for their recognition of the challenges of CRM recycling, the inclusion of CRMs in the national resilience and recovery plans, and a call on the Commission to focus on securing supplies of CRMs in the EU by encouraging Member States to carry out strategic stockpiling.

The report also notes the importance of domestic sourcing and the role of Member States in increasing the sustainable domestic supply of CRMs from primary and secondary sources, as well as the Commission's role in prioritising CRM extraction from existing domestic mines.
2021 EU Raw Materials Week takes place in Brussels
The sixth edition of the Raw Materials Week took place from 15 to 19 November 2021 as hybrid and online events, gathering a wide range of stakeholders discussing policies and initiatives in the field of raw materials. 

The 2021 Raw Materials Week was centred around the 8th annual High-level Conference of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on raw materials and (co-)organised several complementary events addressing the latest news on raw materials in the EU, including: Critical Raw Materials, Trends in innovation and Skills for raw materials, EU Horizon technology success stories, EU-Canada Partnership, UNECE Resource management.

Distinguished guests, such as Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner Thierry Breton, highlighted the strategic issue that is raw materials supply in Europe and shared the Commissions plans to address the challenges we are currently facing. Several MEPs also attended the Raw Materials Week, including MEP Hidegard Bentele (EPP), Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou (EPP) and Mohammed Chahim (S&D).

Other panels included industry members, as well as policymakers from DG GROW. Overall, there were sessions on a variety of topics, including panels on recycling, external partnerships and financing opportunities for CRMs.

During the Raw Materials Week, the Commission announced the publication of the 3rd edition of the EU principles for sustainable raw materials. The objective of the report is to align the understanding of sustainable raw materials extraction and processing operations in the EU amongst Member States and define the general direction towards the SDGs. 

The principles should better communicate with the public on the conditions under which sustainable raw materials extraction and processing takes place in Europe and increase public acceptance for this activity. However, the principles do not impose any obligations on the Member States or the industry.
European Commission launches 3rd Raw Materials Scoreboard 
On 17 November, during the 2021 Raw Materials Week, the European Commission presented their latest Raw Materials Scoreboard, highlighting the urgency to strengthen the resilience and sustainability of raw materials supply in the EU.

The document provides an analysis of the EU’s raw materials supply chains and their trade flows. It focuses on the following raw materials groups: materials, metals, wood and industrial minerals, which are all essential to several key sectors of the European economy, including automotive, electronics and manufacturing.

The report concludes that the EU has a high level of dependency on other regions for several raw materials, and that the domestic production of raw materials secures jobs in the EU.

The results of the scoreboard will feed into the implementation of the 2020 Critical Raw Materials Action Plan.
Council publishes progress report on the batteries & waste batteries file
On 8 December, the Environment Council published a progress report on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning batteries and waste batteries. There are several issues worth highlighting.

First, some Member States (MS) wish to subject battery cells to the same obligations as for batteries. There is also general support to create a separate category of batteries for light means of transport batteries.  

Second, several MS called for reasonable deadlines in view of enabling economic operators to adapt to the stricter requirements laid down in the proposal, and for feasible approaches concerning the calculation of different parameters considering the manufacturing plant level.

Third, on due diligence requirements, a majority of MS pointed out the need to ensure consistency with the horizontal legislation (e.g. the announced legislative initiative on sustainable corporate governance). Delegations support the allocation of the supply chain due diligence requirements to a separate chapter.

Regarding sustainability requirements, there are concerns on the restriction of chemicals, where several Member States believe that chemicals should remain under the single ‘umbrella’ of REACH.

The Slovenian Presidency will continue working on a revised compromise text and will coordinate with the incoming French Presidency in order to facilitate the continuation of the discussions and to ensure the smooth progress of the file in the Council.
Commission adopts Proposal for a Regulation on Waste Shipment
On 17 November, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on waste shipments. Through this proposal, the Commission intends to introduce stronger rules on waste exports, a more efficient system for the circulation of waste as a resource and determined action against waste trafficking. 

Additionally, on 19 November, the Commission opened a public consultation in the frame of the proposal, which will be running until 14 January 2021.

Under this proposal, all EU companies that export waste outside the EU should ensure that the facilities receiving their waste are subject to an independent audit showing that they manage this waste in an environmentally sound manner.

In practice, the exports of some hazardous waste destined for recovery outside the OECD will be prohibited (Article 36), including several CRMs (see Annex IV for exemptions). Moreover, all exports outside the EFTA countries are prohibited and OECD countries can only be the destination of this waste prior explicit acceptance.

The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed by the Council and Parliament. The implementation is expected to begin with a start-up period from 2024 to 207 followed by full-scale operation. 
United States adds nickel and zinc to critical minerals list
On 16 November, The US Geological Survey added zinc and nickel to the redrafted critical minerals list, which contains all those elements considered critical to the health of the US economy and provides vital information for industry, policymakers, economists, and scientists on the most important minerals when it comes to US supply chain.  

The list has increased from 35 to 50 minerals since 2018. Nickel and zinc are the only new additions since the last list in 2018.

According to the USGS, the US relies on refined nickel imports for around 50% of its annual consumption.  Moreover, nickel is changing its usage profile and is now used as a chemical component in electric vehicle batteries.

Regarding zinc, the US domestic supply chain is less fragile bur its refined import dependency is relatively high. 
Public Consultations
  • Hazardous waste - updated concentration limits for chemical pollutants (link here) – Deadline 23 December 2021
  • Waste shipments – revision of EU rules (link here) – Deadline 17 January 2022
  • Chemicals – simplification and digitalisation of labelling requirements (link here) – Deadline 16 February 2022