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Solutions for CRitical Raw materials - a European Expert Network

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SCRREEN (Solutions for CRitical Raw materials - a European Expert Network)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

Since the publication of the first list of Critical Raw Materials (CRM) in 2010 by the Ad-hoc Working Group on CRM, numerous European projects have addressed (part of) the CRMs value and several initiatives have contributed to gather (part of) the related community into clusters and associations. This led to the production of important knowledge, unfortunately disseminated. Numerous databases have also been developed, sometimes as duplicates. For the first time in the history, SCRREEN aims at gathering European initiatives, associations, clusters, and projects working on CRMs into along lasting Expert Network on Critical Raw Materials, including the stakeholders, public authorities and civil society representatives.
Mapping, classification and analysis of stakeholders working in CRM sector and related issues were done. Mechanisms for engagement and plan for consultation were developed. SCRREEN Network was launched: 6 expert groups daily cooperated each other and with WPs, 4 workshop sessions were organised to the aim. Public consultation is running. First draft ideas for stabilisation of Network were shared.

The current use of critical raw materials (WP2.1) in the EU was examined based on available literature with additional own analysis. The results are documented in D2.1. Work in WP2.2 on exploring trends (technological, societal, etc.) affecting the future use of CRM was performed and documented (D2.2). Preparatory (original) work on WP2.3 was done and published in a peer-reviewed article.

WP3 has mapped the primary and secondary CRM resources of Europe based on the list of 2017, producing three reports as deliverables. Primary CRM deposits exist throughout the EU and mine and industry wastes consitute a viable secondary resource base. The main problem with assessing CRM resources is lack of data both for primary and secondary CRM, in addition to the by-product nature of many CRM.

Main processing routes for CRM containing raw materials production were gathered and reviewed for primary and secondary sources. Additionally, circular economy and environmental aspects of CRM production were addressed. Sources as literature, industrial contacts, partners experience etc. were used the basis for collection of information compiled in deliverables D4.1 D4.2 and D4.3 as outcomes.

Deliverable 5.1 provides a series of assessments of CRM and their current substitutability by use. These profiles are then used to inform the other tasks. A key output of this task was to also provide a significant input into the milestone that is used to focus activity, and in particular for task 3.

Templates of the structure of D6.1 D6.2 and D6.3 was prepared and agreed between the partners of WP6. Manuscript drafts of D6.1 and D6.2 for “cobalt” were written by NTUA and a similar draft is under preparation by ICCRAM for D6.3. Moreover, each Task Leader distributed the work for each CRM among the relevant partners. Task 6.4 will be implemented using the results of D6.1 D6.2 and D6.3.

Work involved the identification, description and analysis of the most relevant business and policy issues which frame the value chain of CRMs in Europe (EU and Member State level). Main results indicate that the EU still remains vulnerable to supply disruptions. Domestic policies, legislation and standards are still not sufficiently focused on CRMs and substitution is not a priority.

The objectives of this work package will be mainly addressed during the 2nd period of the project, targeting WEEE issues through two deliverables.

WP9 realized a map of the knowledge produced within the project (T9.1). The GeoSpatial Portal (T9.2) and the associated Document Management System (T9.3) are operational. The Decision Support System, based on an extension for CRM of the MICA System (T9.4) and the link with the RMIS are in construction, as well as applications ‘Why CRM matter’ and ‘Product Development Risk Thermometer’ (T9.5).

During M1-M18 actions were performed, according to the dissemination, communication and exploitation strategy outlined in D10.2. Online presence is well-established by Twitter; project website is operative and regularly updated; several events have been attended/organised around EU. Flyers, posters, roll up have been designed and printed; publications and press releases have been published.

Over the reporting period the WP work has been initiated with the drafting of a first exhaustive CRM projects list. For the organization of workshops the activities consisted in the definition of workshop objectives and invitations of selected project coordinators. Workshop participants have been provided with in
After the identification of a first list of Experts and the initiation of the network, the SCRREEN partners mainly worked at drawing the state of art on Critical Raw Materials (CRMs). CRMs are identified based on a well-established methodology taking into account market information, substitution index and recyclability and these information is well capitalize in the related EU reports. The work done in SCRREEN brought wider information that are useful to identify the most promising CRM in which EU could invest more efforts to reduce its dependency. The information collected and analysed by SCRREEN covers five topics: 1/ the resources that could be available in Europe (both primary and secondary CRM resources); 2/ the current use of CRM and the potential new trends in the future years that could impact the markets (what are the CRMs that could become more crucial, or at the opposite what are the applications that could decrease or disappear…); 3/ what are the technologies currently used to produce these CRMs and do we have them in Europe; 4/ an update of the substitution profiles was done on the key CRMs; 5/ a status on national policy and regulatory frameworks as well as an identification of the relevant business and policy issues pertinent for CRM in Europe.
Finally the overall knowledge management structure has been defined and put in place and is now operational.
Based on this state of the art, SCRREEN partners are now working at identifying pathways that could allow the EU to increase its CRM production and reduce its dependency by improving the primary and secondary production, by fostering the substitution, and adapting/developing new regulations/standards.
The impacts as defined in section 2.1 of the DoA are still up to date, in particular at the short term. By establishing the state of the art, SCRREEN has been drawing the CRM integrated value chain and the identification of pathways to reduce the EU dependency to CRM will support decision-making. The knowledge management portal will contribute to the diffusion of the information.
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