Clear targets for increased mining production in the EU

  • 2023-03-16
  • 16:05
  • News

To tackle climate change and strengthen the EU’s security of supply, Europe needs greater access to metals and minerals. This is one of the conclusions of the proposal for new legislation on critical raw materials presented in Brussels on Thursday.
– We welcome the EU’s increased focus on raw material issues and the fact that targets are now set for increased mining in the EU, but we wish they would go further to remove the obstacles to mining in EU legislation,” says Maria Sunér, CEO of Svemin.

Solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars and other climate technologies implies an increased demand for metals and minerals. Today, the green transition is heavily dependent on China and other undemocratic states. China owns or controls mineral deposits across the globe and can therefore effectively control the market for certain raw materials.

This is why the EU is taking action to increase European self-sufficiency in metals and minerals to deliver on the Green Deal.

The European Critical Raw Materials Act includes a list of 34 so-called critical raw materials, 16 of which are considered to be of particular strategic importance. With regard to the strategic raw materials, including copper, lithium and graphite, the EU has set several targets. Among them is that at least 10% of the EU’s annual consumption of strategic raw materials should be mined in the EU by 2030.

What does this target mean for Sweden?
– Sweden is Europe’s leading mining nation and has the potential to mine much more than is currently being done. It is therefore welcome that the Commission is now clarifying the need to increase mining in the EU. But while the 10% target is a significant increase, it is both insufficient and unrealistic. 10% own production is not enough to secure supply chains. Moreover, 2030 is less than seven years away, and opening new mines takes time,” says Maria Sunér.

The EU is also focusing on more efficient permitting processes, including the creation of a special permitting system for strategic projects. It should take a maximum of 24 months to get the permits in place for mines.

– More efficient permit processes are extremely desirable and some of the strategic projects are probably located here in Sweden. We welcome the fact that the report also stresses that Member States should streamline the processes in general for critical raw materials, not just for those projects classified as strategic. We really want to urge the Swedish government to take note of this,” says Maria Sunér.

The fact that this comprehensive proposal on raw materials comes during the Swedish Presidency is good, says Maria Sunér.

– The Swedish government must now urgently continue working on the national regulation. At the same time, the government must also implement the measures proposed in the major investigations that have recently been completed. They need to immediately implement the good proposals, but also address the remaining issues to improve the authorization processes here in Sweden, says Maria Sunér.
– We hope that this can be the paradigm shift that Europe so badly needs, and today’s proposal is a good first step. The green transition starts in the mine.

FACTS – Critical Raw Materials Act
The Critical Raw Materials Act is proposed by the EU to support domestic capacities and strengthen the sustainability of value chains based on critical raw materials in the EU. It is about enabling the green transition, securing digitalisation as well as safeguarding the defence and space industries in Europe.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the Critical Raw Materials Act during her annual speech to the Union in September 2022.

For more information, please contact:
Maria Sunér, CEO Svemin, + 46 (0)733 01 73 15
Emma Härdmark, Head of Communications Svemin, + 46 (0)703 46 60 48,