Rare earth elements are a group of 17 speciality metals used in high-tech products such as smart phones or wind turbines. Due to the lack of internal supply the EU needs to import more than 90 % of these metals, mainly from China. As the demand for rare earths is expected to grow, the EU aims to improve access to these metals, reduce their consumption and improve extraction conditions in Europe. To help secure the supply, the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) was established.
To address the issue of rare earth elements' supply, the European Commission has brought together experts to form a European Rare Earths Competency Network. The three Working Groups of ERECON were focused on:
The final ERECON conference took place on 16 October 2014 at the Politecnico di Milano, in Milan, Italy. The event was an opportunity to present the main findings of the ERECON network. It brought together over 150 participants.
Key findings of the network have been compiled into a draft Report that will be available soon.