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A critical step towards strategic autonomy: the Critical Raw Materials Act

The Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) represents a new dawn for Europe’s burgeoning cleantech sector. On March 18th, just one year after the text was published, EU Member States approved the final version of the legislation, with the CRMA now set to enter its implementation phase.

AMG Lithium aims to support EU’s ambitions in securing a sustainable supply of critical raw materials by opening Europe’s first Lithium hydroxide refinery in Bitterfeld-Wolfen/Germany and congratulates the EU institutions on finalizing this landmark legislation.

The Act

The CRMA is a first of its kind for the EU, aiming to strengthen Europe’s access to critical raw materials necessary for the twin climate and digital transitions. This seminal piece of legislation will ensure Europe has a competitive, resilient and more strategically autonomous value chain for our cleantech industry.

It will do so by supporting the entire raw material value chain, while at the same time addressing the lengthy permitting procedures and environmental concerns. 

Critical & Strategic

As a result of the legislation, the EU now has a comprehensive list of 34 critical and 17 strategic raw materials, including both Lithium and Lithium battery grade respectively.  

Targets

Putting the CRMA into practice is where things get exciting, as the EU’s objective by 2030 is to:

  • Mine 10% of the internal consumption locally;
  • Process 40% of the strategic raw materials in the EU;
  • Recycle 25% of the raw materials used.

Strategic projects

Strategic projects will benefit from shorter permitting procedures with extraction projects due to receive their permits within a maximum time frame of 27 months, while recycling and processing projects should receive their permits within 15 months. Moreover, Member States will need to design single points of contact within their administrations to facilitate the permit granting process.

Environmental supports

Environmental footprint declarations will be required for individual critical raw materials. Local resistance to new mining projects in the EU have dogged the sector. However, NIMBYism is specifically addressed in the legislation, by mandating that project promoters provide plans containing measures to facilitate public acceptance.

Strategic partnerships

In addition to sourcing more raw materials domestically, the EU’s goal is also to diversify EU’s imports of strategic raw materials and thus reduce dependencies on any one individual trading partner. Delivering on this, the European Commission has already signed a number of strategic partnerships with resource rich countries.

AMG Lithium & the CRMA

AMG Lithium is now set to lead the way towards Europe meeting its critical raw materials goals, with the opening of Europe’s first Lithium hydroxide refinery. Later this year, the first module with a nameplate capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year will start producing Lithium hydroxide battery grade, with up to four additional modules to follow as the market grows. When fully operational, AMG Lithium will reach a capacity of 100,000 tonnes of battery grade Lithium hydroxide per year, enough to secure Lithium for 1 in every 5 EV produced in Europe.

Moreover, as quantities of recyclate become available on large scale, in line with the CRMA and the 25% recycling objectives, future modules will be designed to turn technical grade lithium salts extracted from black mass into battery grade Lithium hydroxide, to close the loop and further reduce Europe’s dependency from foreign supplies.

With the new dawn for the EU’s raw materials sector, AMG Lithium is ready to support the EU's ambitions to become the world’s first climate neutral continent.