Stakeholders unite to boost access to raw materials in Europe Published on: 07/04/2014
A milestone of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials was reached on 7 April 2014 with the announcement of the first set of commitments by over 800 companies, public agencies, research institutes, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders from all over Europe.
These partners have all committed to contribute in one way or the other to fostering technological and non-technological innovation in Europe’s raw materials value chains. The call for commitments launched by the European Commission in October 2013 resulted in a total of 80 commitments that will shape innovation in Europe in the coming years for metallic, mineral and forest-based raw materials.
Examples of projects:
- I²Mine-pilot: Fully automated mineral winning process/system including near-to-face processing and backfilling for deep metal mines
- RESET: Raw Elements Substitution in Electronic and Optoelectronic Technologies
- SAFE & PRODUCTIVE MINING WASTE FACILITIES: Classification of secondary resources and slope stability key to making existing and future mining waste disposal sites safe and productive
- WEEE 2020: Raw material partnership delivering advancements across the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) value chain to improve the environment, help meet EU material demand and drive a resource efficient, green economy
- ECAMOB: Enhancing the cascade use of wood by integrating an intensified mobilisation of forest resources
- Platinum: promoting research and innovation on platinum and related metals through international co-operation
A Communication on the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials is to be released by the end of 2014. The European Commission will monitor progress in implementation of the first commitments through a system of annual reports from the various partners. The next call for commitments will be launched in 2015. Some of the commitments, in addition to their own resources, may benefit from EU funding via different programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020, Structural funds).
European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) were launched under Innovation Union to accelerate the market take up of innovations addressing key challenges. The EIP on Raw Materials' objective is to reduce raw materials import dependency by improving supply conditions from the EU and outside and providing resource efficiency and alternatives in supply. It also aims to bring Europe to the forefront in raw materials sectors while also mitigating their negative environmental and social impacts.
It is important that we move from today’s linear economy, where we mine, manufacture, use and throw away, towards a more "circular economy", where one industry's waste becomes another's raw material. Building such a circular economy will be essential to EU industrial competitiveness and resilience in a world of increasing competition for scarce resources. The EIP will play an important role in achieving this transition and will provide valuable lessons on how to boost recycling and re-use of valuable materials for the integrated "resource efficiency & waste policy review package" which the Commission will present in 2014. The EIP will also support the development of practical ways to reduce the impact of mining activities on the environment.
Drawing together EU countries, companies, researchers and NGOs, it ultimately aims to contribute to the objective to increase the share of industry to 20% of the EU's GDP by 2020 as well as the objectives of the flagship initiatives ‘Innovation Union’ and ‘Resource Efficient Europe’.