Generally, the term refers to raw materials that are important for a sustainable green European economy, and that are often hard to get. Examples of such materials are those used in environmental technologies, consumer electronics, health, steel, defence, space exploration, and aviation. The critical nature of the materials is a function of their importance to the economy, their concentration in particular countries, and the lack of substitutes. Some of the substances identified as CRMs are antimony, beryllium, cobalt, graphite, indium magnesium and tungsten.
Batteries and materials for electric engines are particularly important for achieving reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In a sense these CRMs are replacing the fossil fuels as a foundation for energy and other key sectors of the economy.
Just as fossil fuels are generally found outside the EU, the supply of many CRMs is highly concentrated outside the EU, with main providers being China, Turkey, Russia, and South Africa (N).
Some further ideas to explore on Critical Raw Materials:
What are the CRMs necessary for your mobile phone?
In what countries are the CRMs for your mobile phone found?
How can recycling help to deal with supplies of CRMs?
“Critical raw materials for the EU: Enablers of the green and digital recovery,”Think Tank European Parliament (18 Dec 2020). bit.ly/3RnT5yE
“Critical raw materials: what are they?” Scrreen bit.ly/3Ky19dV
“Critical raw materials: The EU should secure its own supply,” News European Parliament (24 Nov 2021). bit.ly/3TonLSp
What are Critical Raw Materials? CRM Alliance: Critical Raw materials https://bit.ly/3RiMW6Y