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CRM list 2020

 

The 2020 assessment covers a larger number of materials: 83 individual materials or 66 candidate raw materials comprising 63 individual and 3 grouped materials (ten individual heavy rare earth elements (REEs), five light REEs, and five platinum-group metals (PGMs)). Five new materials (arsenic, cadmium, strontium, zirconium and hydrogen) have been assessed.

 

CRMs 2020

 

The fourth list of critical raw materials for the EU

Of the 83 individual (66 candidate) raw materials assessed, the following 30 were identified as critical in this assessment:

2020 Critical Raw Materials (30)

Antimony

Fluorspar

Magnesium

Silicon Metal

Baryte

Gallium

Natural Graphite

Tantalum

Bauxite

Germanium

Natural Rubber

Titanium

Beryllium

Hafnium

Niobium

Vanadium

Bismuth

HREEs

PGMs

Tungsten

Borates

Indium

Phosphate rock

Strontium

Cobalt

Lithium

Phosphorus

 

Coking Coal

LREEs

Scandium

 

The 2020 list confirms 26 of the 2017 CRMs. Three CRMs in the 2020 list were not considered as critical in the 2017 list: Bauxite, Lithium and Titanium. Conversely, Helium, critical in the 2017 CRM list, is no longer in 2020. Strontium is the only new candidate material that is in the 2020 list of CRMs.

All raw materials, even when not classed as critical, are important for the EU economy. The fact that a given material is classed as non-critical does not imply that availability and importance to the EU economy can be neglected. Moreover, the availability of new data and possible evolutions in EU and international markets may affect the list in the future.

The full documentation about the 2020 CRMs list can be downloaded:

 

JRC foresight study for CRMs in strategic technologies and sectors in the EU

Critical Raw Materials are essential for the EU to deliver on the climate ambition of the European Green Deal. The objective of no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 will require electrification efforts and the diversification of our sources of energy supply which in turn requires a huge increase in raw materials.

JRC published a foresight study, which accompanies the fourth list of CRMs for the EU and translates the climate-neutrality scenarios for 2030 and 2050 into the estimated demand for raw materials.

Such a report provides a systematic analysis of supply chain dependencies for nine selected technologies used in three strategic sectors: renewable energy, e-mobility, defence and aerospace.

CRMs 2020
Table showing the raw materials used in key technologies for the digital and green transitions, and their relative supply risk

The report indicates that for batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage, we would need up to 18 times more lithium and 5 times more cobalt in 2030, and almost 60 times more lithium and 15 times more cobalt in 2050, compared to the current supply to the whole EU economy. Demand for rare earths used in permanent magnets, e.g. for electric vehicles, robots or wind generators, could increase tenfold. For our Hydrogen Strategy to succeed, we would need a reliable supply of platinum group metals for fuel cells and electrolysers.

Critical Raw Materials are also essential for shaping Europe’s digital future. According to the foresight study, 120 times the current EU demand of the rare earth neodymium could be required to provide data storage for the global data sphere in 2025.

These examples show that a secure supply of raw materials, both from primary and secondary sources together with continued research and innovation policies for substitution and more sustainable product design, is a sine qua non for competitive and resilient EU industries, their recovery of the COVID-19 crisis and transition towards green and digital industries.

The report can be downloaded: