UK set to launch first ever Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre

UK Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre CMIC United Kingdom
The UK Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre aims to support the UK in securing adequate, timely and sustainable supplies of the materials required to transition its economy in the coming decades to net-zero emissions.

The UK Government has announced it is setting up the Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre (CMIC) to gather data and analyse information of the supply of critical minerals.

CMIC will be run by the British Geological Survey (BGS), assessing critical minerals such as cobalt, lithium and graphite, which are key elements in the makeup of electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines.

UK minister for industry Lee Rowley said the UK is aiming to utilise the BGS’ expertise in geoscience to ensure there’s adequate access to various crucial resources as times are constantly changing.

“As the world shifts towards new green technologies, supply chains will become more competitive,” he 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.”

The CMIC has almost become a necessity in recent times to help alleviate any supply chain issues which may arise in the future, as the production of certain critical minerals is expected to surge by nearly 500% by 2050.

The British government aims to publish a UK Critical Minerals Strategy later in 2022, detailing its approach to “bolstering the resilience of its critical mineral supply chains.”

According to the CMIC, it aims to support the UK in securing the adequate and timely supply of the minerals and metals it requires to ensure the success of the net zero transition by 2050, mitigate risks to national security, deliver economic prosperity and create opportunities for UK businesses in critical mineral supply chains domestically and internationally.

BGS wealth of expertise

The BGS, based in Nottingham in the UK boasts a wealth of expertise and access to data that will offer the government insights into the supply, demand, and market dynamics of critical minerals.

BGS director Dr Karen Hanghøj said the opportunity is pleasing and is a step in the right direction.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Rise in demand for EVs

Vehicle makers across the globe are gearing up to launch hundreds of new electric vehicle models in the near future as restrictions continue to tighten on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

The demand for electric vehicles is even more considerable across Europe as tighter carbon-dioxide emissions targets are set to be rolled out and take effect next year, which could have companies facing hefty fines if they are to breach them.

The UK entered into an agreement following the Brexit free trade deal where local carmakers would have three years to source local electric car batteries.

As part of the agreement, batteries can also contain up to 70% of materials from countries outside the EU or the UK until 2024, where the requirement will tighten mores to 50%.

As the UK continues its push to become more sustainable, UK battery startup Britishvolt and Glencore are building a plant which will recycle lithium-ion batteries, aiming to increase the local supply of the critical mineral.

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