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European Council give final approval on the critical raw materials act

The European Council adopted the regulation to establish a framework to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, better known as the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA). This is the last step in the decision-making procedure.

Following the Council’s approval the European Parliament’s position, the legislative act has now been adopted. After being signed by the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council, the regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication.

The CRMA introduces clear deadlines for permit procedures for EU extracting projects, allows the Commission and member states to recognize a project as strategic, requires supply-chain risk assessments, requires member states to have national exploration plans and ensures the EU’s access to critical and strategic raw materials through ambitious benchmarks on extraction, processing, recycling and diversification of import sources.

With the Critical Raw Materials Act we want to turn the challenges of our dependencies into strategic autonomy and an opportunity for our economy. This legislative act will boost our mining sector, enhance our recycling and processing capacities, create local and good quality jobs, and ensure that our industry is up and ready for the digital and green transitions.

—Jo Brouns, Flemish Minister for Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture

The final text adopted identifies two lists of materials (34 critical and 17 strategic) that are crucial for the green and digital transitions, as well as for the defence and space industries. The CRMA establishes three benchmarks for the EU’s annual consumption of raw materials: 10% from local extraction; 40% to be processed in the EU and 25% to come from recycled materials.

To facilitate the development of strategic projects, member states will create single points of contact at the relevant administrative level and at the relevant stage in the critical raw materials value chain.

Extraction projects will receive their permits within a maximum period of 27 months, while recycling and processing projects should receive their permits within 15 months, with limited exceptions aimed at ensuring a meaningful engagement with the local communities affected by the projects and a proper environmental impact assessment in complex cases.

Large companies manufacturing strategic technologies (i.e. producers of batteries, hydrogen or renewable generators) will carry out a risk assessment of their supply chains to identify vulnerabilities.

The Critical Raw Materials Act, together with the Net Zero Industry Act and the Reform of the electricity market design, is one of the flagship legislative initiatives under the Green Deal Industrial Plan that was presented by Commissioner Thierry Breton on 1 February 2023. The Council adopted the negotiation mandate on 30 June, and the two co-legislators reached a provisional agreement on 13 November 2023.


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