Some European Union members are pushing back on efforts to streamline the application process for new mines and processing plants for critical minerals under proposed legislation, a European Commission official said on Tuesday.
Under the EU’s proposed Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), which was unveiled in March, the bloc could name projects as strategic to give them streamlined permitting.
This fast-track procedure “will be the most tangible result of the act”, Joaquim Nunes de Almeida, head of the Commission’s Internal Market and Industry directorate, told a conference.
“At this stage in negotiations with member states, we are trying to avoid dilution of these deadlines as much as possible.”
Some member states have said such speedy permitting was difficult and were asking for the chance to override the strict time frames, he said during a conference sponsored by consultancy CRU during London Metal Exchange Week.
Under the draft CRMA, strategic mine projects would have to get permits within 24 months and processing facilities would get them in a maximum of 12 months.
The CRMA aims to ensure the EU has access to materials such as lithium, cobalt and rare earths needed to meet the bloc’s target of moving to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The official said another obstacle in boosting EU output of critical materials was resistance to having mine or processing projects nearby, or NIMBY, which stands for “Not In My Back Yard”.