Mining in the spotlight: Using due diligence to protect forests and peoples from mineral extraction

22 maio 2024

Mining in the spotlight: Using due diligence to protect forests and peoples from mineral extraction

To reach its climate neutrality goal by 2050, the European Commission has announced the ban on sales of all combustion engine cars by 2035 and wants to have at least 30 million “zero-emission” vehicles on its roads by 2030.

Electric transportation and renewable energy both require huge amounts of critical raw materials, which are often found under forests, in important biodiversity areas, and in countries with poor governance records. The rush to source such materials could therefore end up destroying some of the climate’s most valuable allies, the carbon soaking forests, other important ecosystems and the communities that have protected them for generations. 

One of the tools to ensure the sustainable and ethical purchase of such minerals is EU laws requiring mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence. This discussion paper assesses and compares the following laws to consider how they could be used to improve critical minerals supply chains:

  • The EU Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR)
  • The Battery Regulation (BR)
  • The Conflict Mineral Regulation (CMR)
  • The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3DDD)
  • The Forced Labour Regulation (FLR)
  • The Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) 

The discussion paper finds that the BR seems to be the best tool to use from 2025 onwards to tackle the critical raw materials nickel, cobalt, graphite and lithium, with others possibly added by delegated act. From 2028 onwards the CSDDD and the FLR could also be used for these and other critical raw materials.

It is important, however, not to consider any of these regulations as a silver bullet, they will need to be implemented hand-in-hand with more innovative demand side measures to reduce over consumption and Strategic Partnerships between the EU and producer countries. 

Read the discussion paper

Categorias: Briefing Notes, Critical minerals

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