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Council approves Critical Raw Materials Act to ensure strategic autonomy

In its final stage of the decision-making process, the Council has today given its approval to the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), establishing a framework to secure a sustainable supply of critical raw materials. This legislation introduces stringent measures to streamline permit procedures for EU extraction projects, designates certain projects as strategic, mandates supply-chain risk assessments, requires national exploration plans from member states, and sets ambitious benchmarks for extraction, processing, recycling, and diversification of import sources.

Flemish Minister for Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy, and Agriculture, Jo Brouns, expressed optimism about the CRMA, anticipating its positive impact on the mining sector, recycling, job creation, and readiness for digital and green transitions.

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The CRMA identifies 34 critical and 17 strategic raw materials essential for the green and digital transitions, as well as for defense and space industries. It sets targets for the EU’s raw material consumption, including sourcing 10% locally, processing 40% within the EU, and obtaining 25% from recycled materials.

To facilitate strategic projects, member states will establish single points of contact and expedite permit procedures. Extraction projects will receive permits within 27 months, while recycling and processing projects will be permitted within 15 months, with exceptions for community engagement and environmental assessments.

Furthermore, large companies in strategic technology sectors will conduct supply-chain risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities.

The next steps involve the signing of the regulation by the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council, followed by its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and subsequent enforcement.

The CRMA, alongside other legislative initiatives like the Net Zero Industry Act and the Reform of the electricity market design, forms a core component of the Green Deal Industrial Plan, aimed at enhancing Europe’s strategic autonomy in critical raw materials.

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