Critical Raw Materials

The „one-size-fits-all“ approach for self-sufficiency through the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) is idealistic, because different market conditions apply to each strategic raw material, and resources and potential vary for each individual raw material. The existing platinum group metals (PGMs) recycling industry gives end-users and those developing new green technologies reassurance as to the long-term sustainability and security of PGMs availability while fears for potential resource depletion are misplaced.

According to industry experts and market analysts, the increased demand will stimulate thrifting of metal in applications (reducing the amount of PGMs used in applications) which will also contribute to ensure sufficient availability. Furthermore, the growing demand will also increase investment in mining processes that are based on circular principles and seek to minimise, reuse, and ultimately eliminate waste.

The CRMA must also include a much stronger global strategy for securing responsible imports. In the case of PGMs, even a very ambitious recycling strategy of these CRMs will not completely lead to substitution of demand for supply from primary production. As the EU will remain reliant on imports to supply its medium-term growth in the next 15 years, IPA recommends that the EU increases its ambitions to secure re- sponsible and fair imports from prioritised resource-rich partners.

The PGM industry is strongly committed to the circularity in the usage of these metals. We support plans to make Europe the global leader for high-quality metals recycling as recycling will be Europe’s key long-term opportunity to establish metals strategic autonomy, especially after 2040 when the first generation of clean energy technologies reaches end-of-life in significant volumes.

The PGM industry understands the need to secure long-term critical raw materials to enable the clean energy transition. However, with regard to safeguarding supply of iridium, experts from the PGM industry believe that any attempt to procure large iridium volumes could lead to irrational price moves that would impact the electrolysis market.

Research undertaken by industry players suggests that with appropriate management, notably through thrifting and recycling, there will be enough iridium and platinum available to allow PEM electrolysis and PEM fuel cells to scale up to the necessary levels to make a major contribution to the energy transition.
Please find more information in the IPA White-Paper on Iridium.

Also with the potential reduction of sales of internal combustion engine vehicles, more PGMs will become available for various other drivetrain applications in vehicles such as fuel cells. However, a prerequisite for a comprehensive recycling of CRMs from end-of-life vehicles is a better control of leakage of waste outside of Europe to address the massive volumes of illegally exported and other unreported end-of-life vehicles.

Why are PGMs critical raw materials?
PGMs feature on the European Union list of materials „at risk“ (Critical Raw Materials“) largely because of the ...

 

Substitution
Substitution of PGMs is part of the EU‘s Raw Materials Strategy to reduce the use of these precious metals...

 


EU benchmarks set by 2030 for domestic capacities