How can the EU develop a viable recycling chain for rare earths?

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The worldwide energy transition, coupled with supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis and the impact of the war in Ukraine have fuelled global interest in securing access to critical raw materials (CRMs). Rare earth elements (REEs) are among the key CRMs required for the green and digital transitions and the EU has to import what it needs, mostly from China.

Permanent magnets – one of the largest applications of REEs – are important components for a number of technologies, including wind turbines, electric vehicles, e-bikes, white goods and consumer electronics. Although recycling processes have potential for meeting some of the future demand for permanent magnets, they have not yet developed at scale in the EU due to several existing barriers.

In March 2023, the European Commission published a proposal to establish a framework to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of CRMs: the Critical Raw Materials Act. The proposal includes a range of actions to boost recycling of CRMs in Europe. In view of recent policy developments, the event on 15 June at 10:00 - 12:00 CEST will bring together experts along the permanent magnets recycling chain and policy makers to discuss how to develop a recycling chain for rare earth permanent magnets in the EU.

  • What are the key existing challenges for building a viable recycling industry in the EU?
  • How can we scale up recycling processes given that many links in the chain have not yet developed at full industrial scale?
  • What gaps can the European Critical Raw Materials Regulation fill?

This event is organised in connection with the INSPIRES KIC - Raw Material Project that is co-funded by the EU.

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