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Raw materials

Defining 'critical' raw materials

The Commission has identified a list of 14 economically important raw materials which are subject to a higher risk of supply interruption.

There are a number of reasons for this heightened supply risk, one of which is the high concentration of the production of a raw material in a given non-EU country. The graphic below presents the production concentration of the ‘critical’ raw materials by source country.

Production concentration of raw minerals

Supply risk may also be accentuated by the low political-economic stability of the main supplier(s), as well as by the low substitutability and low recycling rates of the raw material itself.

The Commission will monitor the issue of critical raw materials to identify priority actions, and will examine this with Member States and stakeholders.

In June 2010 the Commission published a report on critical raw materials, which had been developed by an ad hoc group of the Raw Materials Supply Group: Report pdf - 3 MB [3 MB] , Annex V pdf - 6 MB [6 MB] .

Within the context of the 2011 Communication on raw materials, the European Commission has shown its readiness to examine with Member States and industry, the added value and feasibility of a possible stockpiling programme of raw materials. The following study provides a preliminary analysis which aims to feed into future policy discussions on this issue: Report pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

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