Metals & Mining
The metal industries process non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, copper, and zinc; and ferrous materials such as steel. Both sectors are very important to the EU’s economy, competitiveness, and industrial development. The EU metallic minerals sector produces a wide range of ores yielding metals or metallic substances. The EU is an important producer of chromium, copper, lead, silver, and zinc. However, most metallic ores that supply the European metallic industry are imported. Only a few EU countries have active mines. They include Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden.
However, strategic autonomy and climate change are rapidly changing thinking on Europe’s mental and mining sector. “Without a more strategic approach to developing primary and secondary raw materials capacities in Europe, there will be no green and digital transition, no technological leadership and no resilience.” Commissioner Breton recently commented.
Europe’s metals needs for its 2050 climate-neutrality goal echoes multiple warnings of supply risks for several metals needed in Europe’s energy transition away from fossil fuels. Shortfalls loom without new primary metals supply and better recycling in the system soon, endangering Europe’s goal of a more autonomous clean energy system. Even though the potential for mining and quarrying in Europe is high, the needed permits are not granted, and many opportunities not seized.