Raw materials form the basis of Europe's economy to ensure jobs and competitiveness, and they are essential for maintaining and improving quality of life. Although all raw materials are important, some of them are of more concern than others, thus the list of critical raw materials (CRMs) for the EU, and the underlying European Commission (EC) criticality assessment methodology, are key instruments in the context of the EU raw materials policy. For the next update of the CRMs list in 2017, the EC is considering to apply the overall methodology already used in 2011 and 2014, but with some modifications. Keeping the same methodological approach is a deliberate choice in order to prioritise the comparability with the previous two exercises, effectively monitor trends, and maintain the highest possible policy relevance. As the EC's in-house science service, the Directorate General Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) identified aspects of the EU criticality methodology that could be adapted to better address the needs and expectations of the resulting CRMs list to identify and monitor critical raw materials in the EU. The goal of this paper is to discuss the specific elements of the EC criticality methodology that were adapted by DG JRC, highlight their novelty and/or potential outcomes, and discuss them in the context of criticality assessment methodologies available internationally.
Blengini, G. A., Nuss, P., Dewulf, J., Nita, V., Talens Peiró, L., Vidal-Legaz, B., … Ciupagea, C. (2017). EU methodology for critical raw materials assessment: Policy needs and proposed solutions for incremental improvements. Resources Policy, 53, 12–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2017.05.008