The EIT RawMaterials has approved the GloREIA project, which stands for “Towards a Global Rare Earth Industry Association”. The funding for this EIT RawMaterials project is 300,000 EUR, pending final approval and funding decision by EIT later this year
Rare earth elements are essential for the transition towards sustainability. However, rare earths, are critical metals and only one country, China, dominates the entire supply chain with its own domestic pitfalls such as environmental pollution, illegal mining, impacting international market. As highlighted by the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON), boosting supply security through enhanced cooperation among European end-users and other stakeholders should receive top priority. However, enhancing collaboration between the REE supply chain is a major challenge because unlike many other types of metals and elements, there is no REE industry association which gathers all relevant stakeholders. The reason an association like this one does not exist is not because it is not needed. On the contrary, the REE industry faces numerous obstacles such as inefficient recovery of rare earths from end users/end products (see for instance EREAN/DEMETER Policy Brief, June 2017), high environmental impact from production and processing, high volatility of the raw material prices and low competition from countries outside China. To combat these issues, GloREIA, concurrently gathers (1) key supply chain actors currently already on the global market and (2) shares and creates information which leads to an innovative REE industry of the future.
GloREIA is original because it will be the first consortium to merge the results of REE research with wider society. It is made up of an intersectoral and interdisciplinary consortium of leading EU universities, research institutes and manufacturers from the sector make up this project consortium. The project challenges include the development of a strong REE network that includes China, providing a space for research activities to be launched in industry, and strengthening the capacity to influence REE supply on a global scale. In many ways it will build upon the work of the ERECON network, previously established by the European Parliament and the European Commission
KU Leuven (co-ordinator), (Belgium); CML-Leiden University, (Netherlands); GEUS (Denmark) and leading industry partners (KOLEKTOR (Germany); NEO Performance Materials (Estonia); and Magneti (Slovenia))