Since 2010 and the publication of the first list of Critical Raw Materials (CRM), published the European Commission, numerous European projects have addressed (part of) the value chains of these CRMs and several initiatives have contributed to gather (part of) the related community into clusters and associations. This led to the production of an important knowledge, unfortunately disseminated in a huge number of documents, most of them being part of the “grey literature”. Numerous databases have also been developed to gather this information, sometimes as duplicates.
Following past, ongoing and just starting networks or projects, several CRMs or issues related with the analysis of the value chain of these CRMs have been already addressed (the whole value chains for rare earths and refractory metals, the substitution of the CRMs listed in 2010, the mapping of primary and secondary resources in Europe, the mineral policy…). A few research and innovation actions also address some specific steps of the value chains of some CRMs . Much more have already contributed to the work in FP7.
Several associations have contributed at structuring the community, gathering experts in almost all the fields related to raw materials in general and including CRM in particular (EUROMINES, EGS, Eurometaux, WEEE Forum, CRM Alliance, ETP-SMR, MinPol, PROMETIA, EFG…).
ECRAM aims at gathering the different initiatives (associations, clusters, projects…) working on CRMs into an Expert Network on Critical Raw Materials. The network includes public entities and civil society representatives, in order to allow a multi-stakeholder dialogue on a topic with such key societal, economic, geopolitical and environmental implications. The first objective of ENCRAM is to establish this long lasting Expert Network on CRM and to define the way it can be operated after the end of the Project and gain its sustainability.
• Technological pillar: SCRREEN will contribute to settle the framework conditions for enhanced efficiency in material use and in waste prevention, re-use and recycling, and raw materials-efficient product design. It will also improve the European raw materials knowledge base with information, flows, and a dynamic modelling system for primary and secondary raw materials. Moreover, the Expert Network will ensure the support to the development of R&D programmes related to the new innovation potential.
• Non-technology pillar: SCRREEN will contribute by settling the framework conditions for primary raw materials that would provide a stable and competitive supply from EU sources and facilitate its public acceptance. Strengthening of the CRM network may allow to reduce import dependency and to put Europe at the forefront innovation. The WP5 “substitution” will contribute to the diversification of raw material sourcing.
• International cooperation pillar: SCRREEN will develop a pro-active international co-operation strategy of the EU at bilateral and multilateral level, promoting synergies with countries and regions such as the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, Latin America and the African Union across the different areas covered by the EIP due to the composition of both the expert groups and the consortium members. Moreover, the strengthening of the CRM community will shorten the implementation time of new technologies, processes and help develop the most environmental friendly and economically profitable processes.
ENCRAM aims at gathering the different initiatives (associations, clusters, projects…) working on CRMs into an Expert Network on Critical Raw Materials. The network includes public entities and civil society representatives, in order to allow a multi-stakeholder dialogue on a topic with such key societal, economic, geopolitical and environmental implications. The first objective of ENCRAM is to establish this long lasting Expert Network on CRM and to define the way it can be operated after the end of the Project and gain its sustainability.
ENCRAM will contribute to improve the CRM supply chain by:
• identifying primary and secondary resources of CRMs, and their respective qualities, available for Europe (mapping, assessing, quantifying), in an international context;
• estimating the expected EU demand of various CRMs in the future and identify major trends;
• providing policy and technology recommendations for actions improving the production of the various primary and secondary CRMs and actions for their potential substitution, in order to secure their supply and decrease the relative dependence upon their imports;
• providing a plan for transparent consultation with relevant external stakeholders and effective communication of the findings to the professional and general public across the EU;
• addressing end of life products (EOL) and specifically the WEEE issues related to their mapping and treatment standardisation regarding CENELEC standard.
The strategic vision of ENCRAM is
- To establish an Expert Network covering the whole value chain for the present and coming CRM, mainly based on existing structures and initiatives, having an international dimension and establish a clustering between EU projects in the field, including potentially KIC upscaling projects.
- To identify potential tracks for innovation, breakthroughs, substitution options, new resources (primary, secondary, urban mines), etc. addressing both technology and market of CRM.
- To analyse their potential development according to current policies, regulations and standards; identify the related gaps and limitations; and propose tracks of evolution, for EOL and especially for WEEE. The aim is to lift barriers and ultimately boost the creation of new markets in Europe, inducing jobs and wealth.
- To capitalized the knowledge and share the data widely and efficiently. To support systemic change, the knowledge generated in the project will be made widely available to stakeholders and to the public through dissemination actions
The opportunities of conceiving and implementing new, innovative value chains to deliver on this vision are great. However, we also acknowledges the challenges (diversity of CRMs, potential evolution of the CRM list, technological, industrial, economic, knowledge management, etc.) posed by the disruptions which are required to implement such value chains, which is why stakeholder dialogue is at the core of ENCRAM: policy, society and industrial decision-makers are involved from the start, and the main project outcome is to facilitate strategic knowledge-based decisions to be carried out by these groups.
- achieving the objectives and the implementation of both the Raw Materials Initiative and the EIP on Raw Materials, in particular in terms of the access to critical raw materials (CRMs);
- better informed decision making by the EU and Member States policy makers and the producers and users of raw materials regarding the supply of raw materials;
- development of European standards for the treatment of WEEE, waste batteries and other relevant end-of-life products that would help towards optimising the recovery of critical raw materials;
- increased recovery rates in the EU as regards CRMs from WEEE, waste batteries and other relevant end-of-life products;
- in longer term reduced EU dependency on imports of CRMs;
- improved awareness of relevant external stakeholders and general public across the EU about importance of the critical raw materials for society, challenges related to their supply and about proposed solutions.
Short term impact (by 2019):
• Value chain integration of each CRM
• Diffusion of the information
• Support in the decision making
Medium term impact (by 2025):
• Innovation catalyser, emergence of new innovation projects
• Enhanced market conditions
• Cross sectorial knowledge transfer enhancement
• Increased standardisation of the WEEE treatment
Longer term impact (after 2025):
• New value chains & related economic impact
• Eco-friendly processes development
contributing to the creation of the network, the substitution and technological innovation issues