UK announces plans to protect critical minerals

The UK has opened a new intelligence centre which is tasked with ensuring that the country had the critical minerals required to support its economy and a move to net zero.

Industry minister, Lee Rowley, (above) was in Nottingham to launch the centre which will be tasked with collecting and analysing information on the supply of critical minerals, which he said are vital to the UK’s economic success and national security.

The minister said the Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre (CMIC) will improve the resilience of the UK’s critical mineral supply chain by providing policymakers with up-to-date data and analysis on supply, demand, and market dynamics. This data will then be used to develop evidence-based policies aimed at developing more robust critical mineral supply chains to the UK.

Rowley said: “Critical minerals are so important to every aspect of our daily lives, whether it’s the phones we use, the cars we drive, or the batteries in our laptops.

“As the world shifts towards new green technologies, supply chains will become more competitive. That’s why we’re harnessing the British Geological Survey’s vast experience in geoscience, to ensure better access to these crucial resources, and support the delivery of our forthcoming Critical Minerals Strategy.

“The British Geological Survey (BGS) in Nottingham – with its unparalleled expertise and access to data – will deliver the programme, providing government with insights on the supply, demand, and market dynamics of critical minerals. Some of the CMIC’s data and insights may be provided to businesses, where it’s appropriate and of benefit to them.”

Critical minerals are essential for manufacturing products that are required for green technologies, national security, and daily life – such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, mobile phones and fighter jets. With the production of some critical minerals expected to increase by nearly 500% by 20501, the government said it is essential the UK takes steps to secure a resilient and sustainable supply chain.

“This is vital for some of the industries that it’s hoped will drive growth and create jobs across the UK for decades to come, from EV manufacturers in the West Midlands, to Yorkshire’s Energy Coast,” added Rowley.

The government said it will publish a UK Critical Minerals Strategy later in 2022, setting out its approach to bolstering the resilience of our critical mineral supply chains.

BGS director Dr Karen Hanghøj said: “We are extremely pleased to host the new UK Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre. The British Geological Survey has a strong reputation for its work on mineral and metal supply and is internationally-known for its expertise on critical raw materials.

“Through the new Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre, we are looking forward to building on this track record to provide UK industry and policy makers with high quality information and advice.

“The BGS will combine its own resources, expertise, and data with those of third parties to provide up-to-date analysis on the supply, demand, and flow of critical mineral supplies around the world. The CMIC will also provide policymakers with advice on emerging issues, including geopolitical, ethical or environmental risks associated with critical mineral sources.”