The United States and its Atlantic and Western partners – including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Commission – announced the launch of the ambitious Minerals Safety Partnership (MSP). Strengthening the security of commodity value chains. The announcement was made at the Canadian Prospectors and Developers Association Conference, one of the largest mining-related events in the world.
Faced with a critical economic situation, which on the one hand is experiencing structural pressure on the supply of non-ferrous metals and raw materials critical for energy and digital transformation (lithium, cobalt, rare earths, nickel, gallium, graphite, etc.), and other prospects for the decoupling of global supply chains for security reasons and strengthening partnerships between “friendly” countries (the so-called Friends support Often referred to as Janet JilinUS Treasury Secretary) along several stages of the supply chain is a critical point, especially in the face of arming Interdependence on the part of authoritarian countries, such as Russia and China. According to reports from press release For US diplomacy, the new multilateral consortium “will help stimulate investment by governments and the private sector in strategic opportunities, along the entire chain, that also adhere to the highest environmental, social and governance standards.”
These are the countries that, like Canada, Australia, Finland and Sweden, have important mineral potential, especially lithium extracted from rock minerals in Australian deposits and Canadian reserves of rare earths, copper and other raw materials necessary for the massive conversion process. Our industrial systems are other countries, such as Korea, Japan and Germany traditionally devoted to high-tech industrial transformation, while FranceAnd the United kingdom And the United State They have recently relaunched their plans and refined various tools to re-transform their industries with the aim of decarbonizing and being in the supply chains of the future (batteries, magnets, semiconductors). The main technologies of safety, development and progress of our time. Just to stabilize the supply of lithium in the face of the increasing demand from the automotive sector, it will be necessary to mobilize 7 billion annually of investments in new sites and facility Produced through 2028, estimated by Benchmark Minerals Intelligence. Demand for “white gold” will reach 2.4 million tons per year by 2030, four times the current production.
The new partnership follows the latest initiatives of the European Commission, which launched the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) in September 2020 and oversees Raw materials in transitionthe largest commodity federation in the world as well European Battery Alliance and IPCEI for Electric Batteries. Dialogue is getting closer between the European Union and Canada, as well as in A North American and English-speaking perspective, with the Five Eyes (US, Canada, Australia, UK and New Zealand) looking with increasing interest and concern for developments in this sector due to dependence on third countries, such as China, which controls about 66% of critical raw materials worldwide. The Global Timesan English-language newspaper under the umbrella of the Chinese Communist Party, it’s sealed The American initiative as a symptom of “anxiety”, specifying that Washington’s pressure for Season From Beijing it represents a “dangerous signal” from the perspective of an increasingly incandescent competition with China’s strategic competitor.
The fact, with the war in Ukraine and the indiscriminate use of raw materials as a geopolitical weapon by the Kremlin, indicates that the fears are unfounded, and therefore the massive diversification of supplies, despite the inevitable costs in terms of capital, is no longer considered. Extendable investments and technologies. Safe and stable access to critical raw materials on environmental and social standards in line with Western regulations is, in fact, a historic challenge to the West, which challenges decades of short-sightedness and tests our desire to free ourselves from fossil fuels through greater penetration of renewable technologies. Only for the EU, the physical challenge of relocation is huge, as you remembered In a recent report Euromitox.
Among the G7 countries that joined the initiative, the absence of Italy stands out. Which, however, is present through the Ministry of Economic Development, which launched a National Round Table for Important Raw Materials in January 2021, in the European Alliance (ERMA) as well as participating in important international research and development projects, especially thanks to the role of ENEA and other national bodies. The same PNRR in the National Economic Strategy has projected a reference to minerals for transformation, with a particular focus on the circular economy. However, the issue of security of supply, in a global scenario of increasing instability and uncertainty, remains a key agenda. Especially for a country with an industrial weight like ours that is facing transformation green technologyIn addition to the opportunities, will not be able to ignore facing the shortage of raw materials.
To illustrate these and other scenarios, study by think tank The special The European House – Ambrosetti entitled “Critical Raw Materials: End-of-life of Technological Products as a Strategic Sector for Italy”, was presented during the event organized by Erion, the first Italian multi-consortium in e-waste management, in Rome. At this event, attended by an audience of actors From the sector, between corporate personalities and the business world, the study coordinator intervenes for the presentation Lorenzo Tavazziwhich emphasized the importance of vital raw materials for the “Italian production context”, taking into account the current critical elements of procurement, the geopolitical context and evolutionary scenarios and recycling as a “strategic lever” to address the importance of rare earths.
By analyzing the “industrial ecosystems” involved, from the aerospace and energy-intensive industries to electronics, automobiles and renewables, it was found that these sectors are highly greedy for important raw materials, even in the Italian case. In fact, the value associated with it for the country system is about 564 billion euros (32% of the Italian GDP), second only to Germany in terms of overall impact, for an economic importance to Europe estimated at 3. trillion euros. Not only that: there are nearly 440 billion exports from the Italian economy (86% of the total) in which vital raw materials play an essential role in the production of value-added products. In particular, rare earths are present in all major industrial ecosystems analyzed, with higher supply risks compared to other raw materials and, in perspective, are more important if we consider, such as lithium, cobalt, graphite and nickel. The future consumption of renewable technologies.
From a long-term perspective, with reference to a survey conducted in 2021 among Italy’s main CEOs, cars/robots, Life science The aviation industry will be the most strategic sector for the competitiveness of the Italian industrial system, which is also characterized by a strong dependence on Suppliers An important mineral. In the face of a supply concentration that, according to the IEA itself, is unprecedented compared to the current oil and gas market, dependence on third countries according to Ambrositi estimates still cannot be mitigated through recycling. In fact, the recycling rate for 22 of the 28 critical raw materials considered (there are thirty critical raw materials on the European Commission’s recent list, from 14 in 2014) is less than 10%. There is no shortage of potential when you consider the inventory we could accumulate by 2030, with a 30% increase in technology products across the EU. While Europe can be considered a leading region in the recycling of so-called WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), of which Erion is a leader in our country, at the same time it is responsible for most volumes of technological waste, with significant national differences in the recycling rate. In this particular ranking, Italy ranks third from the last and lags far behind the European average. Without interventions, the distance between internal demand for critical raw materials and recovery capacity could widen to 15,600 tons (equivalent to 280,000 tons of technological waste), removing the possibility of recycling as a potential critical mitigation tool.
There are five areas of intervention identified in the report to exploit the potential of these “urban mineral mines”. First: Strengthening the collection methods. Second: Addressing the wrongful act. Third: Simplifying the licensing procedures. Fourth: Improving factory equipment. Fifth: Spreading public and consumer awareness. The goal is to reconcile several dimensions, from the purely strategic dimension – reducing our risks along global supply chains -, passing through the economic dimensions with new public-private partnerships, down to the social and environmental dimension. In three scenarios examined, each with more or less ambitious recycling targets and in line with national and EU directives, the prospects for making WEEE recycling a supply risk mitigation tool are encouraging: 7,600 tons of critical raw materials (equivalent to 11 % of what is imported from China today), while avoiding 1 million tons of CO2 and saving €200 million in imports. We need to act immediately and quickly. In terms of regulations, update them to enhance incentives for WEEE collection and digitize logging systems, on volumes, compare illicit flows and develop a more capillary network, and finally strengthen structures dedicated to transforming waste into raw materials from a circular perspective.
It is an effort that requires everyone’s cooperation actorswithout forgetting that recycling will guarantee only a part of the aggregate demand (medium – long term), as a pillar of a tailored procurement strategy, where innovation and investments in start Technologies (particularly in managing and improving WEEE) will play a crucial role. to remember her Pier Luigi Franceschinidirector of the South Hub of EIT Raw Materials based in Rome, in the panel discussion that followed immediately afterwards, along with Honorable Chiara Braga (Democratic Party), Silvia Frigolent (Italy Viva), Paulo Lewi (President of APPliA Italia) E Bruno Marnate (Anitec-Assinform).
A race for raw materials does not ignore the dialogue with partner countries, participation in international forums, and the debate in European offices. In fact, UNHCR is working on a Raw Material Law: A legislative instrument aimed at laying the foundations of the European strategy for critical raw materials, and further strengthening the efforts of the European legislator for the governance of future supply chains in a strong geopolitical context.
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