Eurofer joins WindEurope in raw materials access lobbying

Eurofer has reiterated again this week the need for the EU to take action to secure future access to critical raw materials such as nickel, ferrous scrap and rare earths.

The European steelmakers association issued a joint call with WindEurope, the voice of the wind energy industry in Europe.

“In March the European Union will present its EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA). This is of crucial importance for Europe’s energy security and for the success of Europe’s digital and green transitions. The CRMA must break Europe’s dependency on a handful of exporting countries. Only a level playing field in accessing critical raw materials will ensure the long-term competitiveness of European manufacturing and avoid carbon leakage,” reads the note published by Eurofer and WindEurope.

Specific attention was dedicated in the note to the problems faced over nickel supply – due to export restrictions from Indonesia – as well as rare earths and core materials for glass fibre imported from China. The latter is necessary for the development of the wind energy sector in Europe.

Ferrous scrap is also considered a critical raw material for steelmakers and Eurofer has been lobbying the EU for a long time to implement a system to control exports.

“Despite its critical importance for a successful decarbonisation of the steel sector and its value chain, scrap is the most exported waste stream from the EU to third countries (59% in 2021, according to Eurostat). Furthermore, most destination countries do not have environmental and social standards equivalent to the European ones. This paradoxical situation risks jeopardising both Europe’s strategic autonomy and its climate goals,” the statement seen by Kallanish explains.

“The EU steel industry needs access to both fossil-free energy such as wind, and key raw materials such as scrap, nickel and manganese to supply green steel to its value chain. In addition, we invite the Commission to formulate a proposal focusing on ‘strategic green transition goods’ like steel and wind in the context of the new Green Deal Industrial Plan, as these are an essential part of the clean tech value chain,” says Eurofer director general Axel Eggert.

Earlier this week, Cinzia Vezzosi, vice-president of Euric, a confederation representing European recycling industries, noted nevertheless that it is important to avoid demonising European scrap exporters.

“There are over 20 million tonnes of scrap that are not used by the European steel sector at the moment. The recycling sector will have no problems to supply these to the European steelmakers when needed. It is important nevertheless to secure the future economical viability of the recyclers, facing already higher costs due to investments to increase further the quality of the recycled materials,” Vezzosi said during a presentation.

Emanuele Norsa Italy