International forum expands cooperation on critical raw materials

10 April 2024 | Muriel Cozier

Demand in EU for lithium is expected to increase twelve-fold by 2030.

A new Minerals Security Partnership Forum (MSP Forum) has been launched by existing Mineral Security Partner members, which include the EU and US. Other countries including Namibia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan have recently joined or have expressed interest in joining. 

Bringing together resource-rich countries, and countries with high demand for these resources, the partners have said that the MSP Forum will serve as a ‘new platform for cooperation in the area of critical raw materials.’ The Forum was officially launched in Leuven, Belgium and attendees included US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The Forum’s work will cover two main areas. One project will focus on supporting and accelerating the implementation of sustainable critical minerals projects; and a second will identify policies for boosting sustainable production and local capacity as well as fostering ‘fair competition, transparency and predictability.’  US representatives said that areas such as project information sharing among MSP partners, forum members and the private sector, along with presentations on critical minerals opportunities, and technical collaborations were likely to be included as part of its deliverables. Policy dialogue would be led by the EU.

The EU, US and current Forum partners are now reaching out to prospective members in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe to expand participation.

Describing the MSP Forum as ‘the cornerstone of the EU’s strategy to secure a more sustainable supply of critical raw materials,’ Vladis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade said: ‘With this global initiative, we want to make sure that international cooperation is up to the task of increasing investment, diversifying supply chains and bringing sustainable benefits to all parties,’

Critical raw materials are crucial for the green and technological transition that the world is aiming for. The EU has said that while demand for these raw materials is high, it is expected to continue growing. Demand in the EU for lithium is expected to increase twelve-fold by 2030. But as demand is growing a series of geopolitical, environmental, and social risks and challenges must be navigated.

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