Critical mineral mining meets social license
Credit: Lynas - Rare Earth processing plant Kalgoorlie

Critical mineral mining meets social license

We know we need more mining of critical minerals if the move to net zero is going to actually happen. But, how willing are we to give up other priorities, including environmental and social protections.

Summary: We know we need more mining of critical minerals if the move to net zero is going to actually happen. But, how willing are we to give up other priorities, including environmental and social protections. The measures expected in the EU Critical Raw Materials Act are going to test the “social license to operate” of the mining industry in Europe as never before. There are solutions, ways that mining and communities can coexist, but we expect it will have to be the mining companies not the politicians, that take the lead.

Why this is important: The goal of achieving a more sustainable future will often require trade-offs and the consideration of multiple, sometimes conflicting themes.

The big theme: Europe wants to decarbonise its economy. This includes sectors as diverse as transport, our buildings, our food, and of course our industry. Working out how to do this is a big challenge. To do this in a way that isn't reliant on countries such as China for important key raw materials, Europe is going to need more domestic mining and more mineral processing. Which potentially brings one part of the green agenda into conflict with another - solutions are possible, but lets not pretend its going to be easy.



The details


Summary of an article from Euractiv

To boost EU autonomy, the European Commission is seeking to introduce targets of 10%-40% of the mining, recycling, and processing of critical raw materials used in the bloc to be done within the EU by 2030. A draft version of the EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act, seen by EURACTIV and set to be presented by the European Commission on Tuesday (14 March), will introduce targets for Europe’s self-sufficiency along the entire value chain. This is expected to cover both state aid and support with faster permitting and approvals.

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