At its today’s sitting, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) amended Estonia’s positions on the proposal for a regulation on critical raw materials package and the Communication. The Committee decided to emphasise that all decisions regarding mining must remain in the competence of Member States.
Chair of the European Union Affairs Committee Liisa Pakosta underlined that Estonia already was the largest producer in the EU of rare earths and several critical raw materials. “We mine, and mining is part of our prosperity. As regards further extraction permits, it is important that Estonia makes all its decisions itself,” Pakosta pointed out, and stated that mineral resources and recovery of critical elements were a key issue for Estonia.
“From mobile phones to windmills, more necessary raw materials are needed than there are known geological resources. It is clear that critical materials in the mining waste should be recycled more effectively in order to recover as many critical raw materials as possible for producing, for, example, new chips, magnets or batteries,” Pakosta said. “The more we are able to refine mining waste and increase the recycling of raw materials, the less critical raw materials need to be extracted.”
Member of the European Union Affairs Committee Tanel Kiik pointed out that in order to recycle waste effectively, it was important to have a just transition fund so that companies could apply for money to set up, for example, a recycling plant for lithium-ion batteries. “The European Union Affairs Committee decided to amend the positions by adding a clause according to which it is necessary to establish an all-European support fund for granting state aid that would be specifically dedicated to financing critical raw materials projects and to which all businesses of the EU would have equal access,” Kiik said.
The European Union initiative aims to provide a strong industrial base and to ensure a secure, diversified, affordable and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, as well as to enhance circularity and sustainability. The target is to produce and process 50% of the critical raw materials needed by the EU in the European Union by 2030.
At the sitting, Director of Mineral Resources Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Ene Jürjens and Adviser of the Environmental Management Department of the Ministry of the Environment Piret Otsason gave an overview of the initiative and replied to the questions of the members of the European Union Affairs Committee.
For more information, please contact: Liisa Pakosta, phone +372 502 6191