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Final ERECON Conference

The final conference of the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) will take place on 16 October 2014 at the Politecnico di Milano.

ERECON comprises a network of over 80 leading European rare earths experts from industry, academia, and policy who have come together for a series of working group meetings to look at ways of improving rare earth supply security for Europe.

The conference, a culmination of the series of working group meetings, will bring together an international audience of key stakeholders and decision makers in business and policy to present the main findings from the work carried out by ERECON and to discuss how best to ensure the affordable, sustainable, and secure supply of rare earths for Europe and the rest of the world.

The final conference will:

  • present the final summary report of this unique network of experts;
  • feature high-level panel discussions with key decision-makers in industry and politics;
  • give the floor to outstanding European and international speakers;
  • provide exceptional networking opportunities for all key players who are active in the field of Rare Earths Elements.

Attendance space at this conference is limited. Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

To register please contact us at: events@erecon-network.eu

Second round of ERECON meetings take place

The European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) has held a second round of meetings in Brussels. The ERECON rare earth experts are coming up with ways to address the issue of rare earth supply security by improving access to rare earths, reducing their consumption and enhancing extraction conditions across Europe.

Clear-cut policy recommendations

At the Steering Committee Meeting, rare earth experts from across Europe highlighted the need to transmit “clear-cut policy recommendations” that can feed into the policy processes of the European Commission and individual Member States. The focus then turned to the methodology for compiling the upcoming EU Critical Raw Materials list. It was decided to consider light and heavy rare earths separately in drawing up this list. All participants agreed that it should be used as a key tool for raising awareness among policy makers and indeed the public about the challenges related to raw materials. A final list will be available in the Spring. Other items discussed at the Steering Committee meeting included the involvement of third countries; namely the US, Japan, Canada and Australia; due to their involvement in REE.

Working Group Meetings

Various Working Group meetings were also recently held. Various items were discussed and include the merits of different REE sources in Europe, areas of focus for the Group, as well as the impact of supply security concern.

Overall, it was decided that each Working Group need to focus their efforts on producing policy recommendations in relatively short time frame.

ERECON is guided by a Steering Committee that sets the agenda of the Working Group meetings of rare earth experts.

All members form a geographically balanced group, representing all parts of the value chain.

The next set of Working Group meetings is scheduled for early May 2014, while the next Steering Committee meeting will be held in summer this year.

Rare earth experts unite for the first time

The first European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) meeting took place in Brussels on 23 October. A European Commission initiative, ERECON is looking at ways of addressing the issue of rare earth supply security by improving access to rare earths, reducing their consumption and enhancing extraction conditions across Europe.

Europe can take the lead

At the meeting, experts highlighted the importance of raw materials for the continent as well as the specific challenges related to rare earths. It was also stressed that a joint effort was needed to unite the fragmented capabilities from research and industry and to keep the issues on top of the public and policy agenda. Meanwhile, all participants agreed that Europe is well-equipped to take the scientific and technological lead in rare earth technologies.

Demand to grow

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.

ERECON is guided by a Steering Committee that sets the agenda of the Working Group meetings of rare earth experts. All members form a geographically balanced group, representing all parts of the value chain.

The next ERECON Steering Committee meeting will take place in December 2013 with the second round of Working Group meetings scheduled for January 2014.

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