IN THE NEWS Q3 2020:

Dear Reader,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the second edition of the EPMF Newsletter. Below you can read more about the recently launched European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) and its importance relative to precious metals. As you are probably aware, precious metals are one of the key enablers for the green technologies at the core of the European Green Deal. The use of precious metals in medical devices, electronics and aerospace are irreplaceable and increasing further in importance as the EU looks toward a further strategic autonomy. At the same time we shouldn’t forget the crucial role of precious metals in the Circular Economy due to their endless recyclability whilst retaining their initial properties. I trust you will find the contents of this newsletter both useful and interesting.

Enjoy your read!

Wouter Ghyoot, President of the EPMF Board, Umicore NV/SA, Belgium

Precious Metals and European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) – the better use of EU resources


Both, the European Green Deal and the Industrial Strategy for Europe are setting the goal for the EU to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Moreover, EU industry should become more sustainable and competitive. A number of new initiatives, also known as industrial alliances, has been geared towards achieving these goals.

The launch of the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) earlier in September has attracted EPMF attention. You may be wondering why? Firstly, this Alliance has been established in recognition of the critical importance of raw materials to the EU’s security, sustainability and industrial leadership. Secondly, the deliverables of the European Green Deal will require a significantly increased demand for raw materials. Last but not least, ERMA covers the full range of elements and minerals, including the precious metals. ERMA is an opportunity for the precious metals industry to further prove its strategic importance. Electronics, green technologies, solar panels, medical devices... the use of the precious metals is indispensable. Likewise within the Circular Economy where precious metals can be recycled endlessly without losing their initial properties and purity. Up to 99% of the original metal can be recovered when recycling. However, to unlock the full potential of the precious metals sector, regulatory support is also needed. EU policy makers should assist European businesses in remaining both in a healthy state and competitive at the global level. The precious metals industry will in turn assist the EU in becoming a leader in innovation and climate neutrality. The EPMF can assure you that all the industrial and non-industrial stakeholders joining ERMA are committed to a green and sustainable Europe.

Guest corner: Open Strategic Autonomy – The European Union's bid for resilience, diversification and circularity

By Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Member of European Parliament

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate interconnections in the global economy. Its disruption of worldwide supply chains has turned the spotlight on the European Union’s increasing needs for raw materials and reliance on third countries for its supplies.
As an example of this, the EU relies on China for 15 of 38 critical raw materials and on South Africa and Russia for precious metals (platinum, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium, and palladium) which are used for electronics, fuel cells, and catalysts. 
However, reliance on third countries is not our only problem. In the precious metals sector, low rates of recycling have plagued our resource efficiency. In Europe, 4 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver, which are used widely in electronics, batteries, and health equipment, go unused every year. 
Today, more than ever, we cannot take these issues lightly. We need to create resilient and sustainable supply chains for raw materials necessary to the Green Deal and the digital transition.
The European Raw Material Alliance is a step in the right direction. Its coverage of metal and minerals will contribute to achieving sustainability and resilience for our industrial ecosystem. It will bolster the development of a circular economy for complex products (e.g. electronics, vehicles, and machinery), which will ensure higher resource efficiency of all raw materials. And it will foster an industrial strategy that reinforces Europe’s Open Strategic Autonomy.
Autonomy, or «αυτονομία» in Greek, comes from the words αὐτός (autós, “self”) and νόμος (nómos, “law”). It literally means our "right" to make our own rules.
The European Union’s autonomy will be built upon the resilience, diversification, and circularity of our strategic value chains.
The European Union cannot afford to waste any time in pursuing these objectives, in today's geopolitical global arena, which is increasingly dominated by protectionism, nationalism and "systemic rivals".

Good practice: 
Precious metals have a central role in the newly launched European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA)

By EIT Raw Materials  

Precious metals play a major role in today’s society and are found in countless applications. This is also reflected in the latest EU list of critical raw materials, which includes the platinum group metals along with other materials based on their economic importance and supply risk.
The European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) was launched on September 29, 2020 as the first concrete action of the Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials. The Alliance aims to make Europe economically more resilient by diversifying its supply chains, creating jobs, attracting investments in the raw materials value chain, fostering innovation, training young talents and contributing to the best enabling framework for raw materials and the Circular Economy worldwide. 
The Alliance will identify barriers, opportunities and investment cases to build capacity at all stages of the raw materials value chain, from mining and processing to advanced materials, product design, recycling and waste recovery. The activities will be carried out across ‘clusters’ defined around specific value chains. One of the first clusters will consider raw and advanced materials for energy storage and conversion in stationary and non-stationary applications. Here particularly platinum group metals play a key role in membrane technologies. 
ERMA welcomes all industrial and non-industrial stakeholders, including NGOs, trade unions, national governments, regions, European as well as non-European, that commit to developing sustainable raw material value chains for Europe, and to building resilience, competitiveness and skills. 
EIT RawMaterials, initiated and funded by the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology), a body of the EU, will manage ERMA and its activities. 

To join the alliance, please visit erma.eu and submit the online application.

#PMFacts: unique properties of precious metals

Precious metals are All Around You. Did you know that they make our lives safer, more productive and healthier? Thanks to their unique properties, precious metals make it possible for us to have a cleaner environment and their importance is growing as Europe leads the world towards a low-carbon economy. Let’s have a more detailed look:
•    Silver can be used in wide variety of products and sectors. It is essential in components of Green Technologies, e.g. solar panels, rapid charging stations and in-road applications. Currently, there is no ‘like-for-like’ alternative substance. Silver also continues to be used in X-rays and other medical applications. Silver’s use in water purification continues today as it has for centuries.
•    Albeit only in minute amounts, gold is a critical element in the nearly 1.5 billion smart phones sold every year.
•    Platinum is used in catalytic converters for cars, buses, trucks, and other industrial processes. It converts the emissions from the combustion chamber into less harmful gases as they pass through the system. In healthcare, platinum is used in pacemakers and defibrillators. Platinum compounds are used in chemotherapy to treat cancers.
What is more, the recycling of precious metals contributes significantly to improving the supply of raw materials and increasing resource efficiency.

European Precious Metals Federation a.i.s.b.l.
Avenue de Broqueville 12,
B-1150 Brussels

Would you like to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Linkedin