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Strategic Implementation Plan for the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials launched

1 October, 2013

Raw materials are the lifeblood of EU industry. At least 30 million jobs in the EU depend upon access to them. But we face increasing demand for unprocessed minerals and metals and, in parallel, strong challenges to the supply of certain raw materials, including price volatility and market distortions. In response, yesterday the High Level Steering Group of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials released a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) describing how we can act to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials to the European economy and make Europe a world leader in raw materials exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution by 2020. The SIP outlines detailed actions which the parties involved - EU countries, companies, researchers and NGOs – can use to foster technological and non-technological innovation in our raw materials value chain, as well as in the international arena. These include a wide range of initiatives such as new cost-effective exploration concepts and technologies, better recovery and recycling of demolition waste and finding substitutes for critical raw materials such as the indium used in touch screen technologies.

 

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship and a leader of the High Level Steering Group, commented: "Innovation in raw materials – be it in mining, processing, recycling, or substitution – holds the key to future growth and jobs. With today's proposal we underline that Europe is capable of addressing these important challenges, drawing on our innovative EU research capabilities, as bolstered by Horizon 2020. This will help our industry both create jobs and protect the environment."

 

In order to secure a sustainable supply of raw materials, Europe is confronted with a number of challenges along the entire raw materials value chain - exploration, extraction, processing/refining, recycling as well as substitution. The SIP aims to address all actions necessary to achieve the objectives and targets, including research and development along the value chain, raw materials knowledge, exchange of best practices, revision of selected legislations, licensing steps, standardisation, and policy dialogues.

 

Concrete targets of the SIP include the launch of up to 10 pilot projects to promote technologies for the production of primary and secondary raw materials, to find substitutes for at least three applications of critical and scarce raw materials as well as to create better framework conditions for raw materials in Europe. The SIP also lists actions to improve Europe's waste management framework conditions and excellence, and to reinforce EU knowledge, skills and raw materials flows; by developing an EU Raw Materials Knowledge Base and potentially setting up a EIT Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC). Actions are also proposed to support an international co-operation strategy, at bilateral and multilateral level. Some examples of initiatives proposed within the 24 action areas proposed by the SIP include:

 

- New cost-effective exploration concepts and technologies providing high quality data and information, including high resolution 3D geo-data at 150-4000 meters depth.

 

- Developing solutions for a better recovery and recycling of construction and demolition waste, particularly in the most promising targets, such deconstruction of non-residential buildings.

 

- The substitution of indium in transparent conductive layers, such as those used in touch screen devices, flexible electronics, solar energy and OLED lighting (organic light-emitting diode used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld games consoles and PDAs).

 

Original EC press release

 

Detailed information

 

Strategic Implementation Plan