The European Commission's (EC) Raw Materials Initiative (RMI) emphasises that raw materials are essential for the sound and sustainable functioning of Europe’s industries and, in a broader context, of Europe’s economy and society. The EC is committed to promote the competitiveness of industries related to raw materials. These industries play an important role in many downstream sectors in the European Union (EU) such as construction, chemicals, automotive, aerospace, machinery, pharmacy, equipment, renewable energy devices, and defence. These sectors have a combined added value of around EUR 1,000 billion and provide employment for some 30 million people.
Securing the undistorted supply of raw materials and, in particular, Critical Raw Materials (CRM) is thus crucial and requires a sound and continuously updated knowledge base, namely the European Raw Materials Knowledge Base (EURMKB), as highlighted in the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials, in its Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) from 2013, particularly in the Action area no. II.8.
In this context, and responding to a specific action of the 2015 Circular Economy Communication, the EC's Directorate General (DG) Joint Research Centre (JRC), in close collaboration with DG GROWTH, is advancing its Raw Materials Information System (RMIS). The first version (hereinafter referred to as RMIS 1.0) was launched in March 2015. The advanced RMIS (hereinafter referred to as RMIS 2.0) intends to become a one-stop information gateway and knowledge service centre for non-energy, non-food primary (e.g. extracted through mining) and secondary (e.g. recycled, recovered from mining waste) raw materials and materials/commodities.
RMIS 2.0 will (a) support European Union (EU) policy with tailor-made products like the Raw Material Scoreboard and CRM assessments, and (b) to help coordinate other EU level data and information on raw materials. The EU policy support will rely on knowledge from the EUKBRM. This will be made available directly in the RMIS from different sources. The coordination role will be jointly developed with Member States, industry representatives, and other stakeholders, e.g. hosting an entry point to the EURMKB and by further coordination activities with focus on compilation, presentation and application of EU level data.
Towards the launch of the RMIS 2.0 (foreseen in the 4th quarter of 2017), this “Interim Progress Report & Roadmap” presents the up-to-date development of the RMIS, including the key policy support knowledge needs that shall be fulfilled, and starts linking identified (EURMKB) knowledge needs with knowledge providers. It also presents foreseen key building blocks for the policy support and several development milestones of the RMIS 2.0 (as of February 2017). The key building blocks focus on a number of themes, including: Critical Raw Materials (CRM) and criticality analysis; Material Flow Analysis (MFA) including the EC Material System Analysis (MSA); the Raw Materials Scoreboard; trade policy aspects; material efficiency and secondary raw materials; sustainability aspects; business & industry; Research & Innovation (R&I); and the policy context.
With a view to reinforce synergies and stregthen cooperation with raw materials knowledge providers, as well as with other relevant stakeholder groups (including RMIS users), the first RMIS international workshop will take place in March 2017. The aim of the workshop is to present progress and the foreseen development milestones, as well as to discuss the frame and concept of the cooperation with stakeholders.