The  European Commission published a consultation on the EU Raw Materials Initiative, that was launched in 2008, to facilitate the preparation of a new Communication which will not only report on progress made with the implementation of this initiative, but also indicate the way forward.The goal of this consultation is to gain an understanding of stakeholders’ views on both the implementation of the Initiative as well as gather opinions and suggestions on the potential avenues the Commission should explore in order to further progress and strengthen the Initiative. Ther consultation closes on September 19, 2010. More information can be downloaded here.
The Commission recently presented  the outcome of study of an expert working group which was active between April 2009 and June 2010 under the umbrella of the Raw Materials Supply Group.   The report observes that, as geological scarcity is not considered as an issue for determining criticality of raw materials within the time horizon of the study, e.g. ten years, global reserve figures are not reliable indicators of long term availability. Of greater relevant are changes in the geopolitical-economic framework that impact on the supply and demand of raw materials. These changes relate to the growing demand for raw materials, which in turn is driven by the growth of developing economies and new emerging technologies. Moreover, many emerging economies are pursuing industrial development strategies by means of trade, taxation and investment instruments aimed at reserving their resource base for their exclusive use. This trend has become apparent through an increasing number of government measures such as export taxes, quotas, subsidies etc. In some cases, the situation is further compounded by a high level of concentration of the production in a few countries.