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European Rare Earths Competency Network


Final ERECON Conference met with success in Milan

The final conference of the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) took place on 16 October 2014 at the Politecnico di Milano, in Milan, Italy. The event brought together over 150 international participants, including high-level European Commission representatives, who attended for the presentation of the main findings of the ERECON network.

This final conference was the culmination of the network’s efforts to look at ways to best ensure the affordable, sustainable, and secure supply of rare earths for Europe and the rest of the world. The event featured panel discussions followed by lively Q&A sessions that presented the findings of the ERECON working group sessions that took place over the last year. It also provided an excellent opportunity for networking among key stakeholders and decision makers in business and policy in the sector.

Key findings have been compiled into a draft Report that will be finalised based on the latest outcomes of the conference and will be made available online before the end of 2014.

The event featured the high level presence and participation from Vice-President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, as well as current European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, and Italian government officials, representing the conference’s host country.

Although this conference was the conclusion of the ERECON network’s work, there were resounding calls from participants for the need to continue the network under the new Commission. It was decided that a recommendation shall be made to the new Commissioner to do so, and that stakeholders will be asked to ‘stay tuned’ in order to keep abreast of any new development in 2015. Please refer back to this website for further information.

Our Network

The European Commission has brought together experts to form a European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) that have looked at ways of addressing the issue of supply security. ERECON is guided by a Steering Committee that has set the agenda for a series of Working Group meetings of rare earth experts. Each Working Group was given a different mandate: the first has focused on the primary production of rare earths in the EU, the second has looked at resource efficiency and recycling and the third on trends and challenges.

Read more on the mandates: ERECON expertiseContact the ERECON Secretariat
Rare Earth

Rare earth in Europe

Rare earth elements are a group of 17 speciality metals used in high-tech products like smart phones and wind turbines. The European Union imports more than 90 % of its rare earth metal needs from countries like China as there is not enough internal supply. And experts predict that demand for these metals will only grow as consumer preferences shift towards hi-tech and green products. To ensure supply security, the EU is trying to improve access to rare earths, reduce their consumption and enhance extraction conditions across the continent.

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