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Berlin Lithium, magnesium, cobalt: Germany is according to a study by many for the energy and traffic turnaround indispensable raw materials to a large extent on imports – often from less democratic countries like China or Congo. For 14 of the 30 raw materials classified as particularly critical, the dependency on imports is 100 percent, according to the study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), which was available to the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
The share for another three raw materials is more than 95 percent. Raw materials that are essential and at the same time subject to an increased delivery risk are considered critical.
“This year, Russia has shown us drastically how dependence on raw materials can be used by autocratic regimes as a means of political pressure and what serious economic consequences this dependence has,” said Lukas Menkhoff, head of the World Economy department at the DIW, in view of the sharp reduction in energy supplies after the start of the war against Ukraine. With the so-called rare earths – which are essential for the construction of electric cars and wind turbines – Germany and the European Union are more than 90 percent dependent on supplies from China. The same is true of magnesium.
According to the DIW, no individual actions help to reduce such dependencies. “A whole bundle of measures is required, which should ideally all be pushed forward at the same time,” said DIW study author Marius Zeevaert.
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More supplier countries should be used: Rare earths could also be obtained from Brazil, India and Australia, lithium from Australia, China and Argentina. It is also proposed to supplement storage with mandatory minimum reserves. The procurement of relevant raw materials should also be bundled across Europe in order to counteract the market power of the few suppliers.
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