Study finds growing dependencies in raw materials

lithium mining

Germany is particularly dependent on imports for rare earths.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin A study in order of the federal government warns of a growing Dependence of German companies on raw materials. While 14 critical raw materials were still identified in 2011, by 2020 there were already 30, according to a study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and now published by the management consultancy Ernst & Young (EY).

“Due to the increasing demand for high-tech and energy-efficient innovations, an easing of this development is not to be expected.” In the study, 46 raw materials are classified as “strategic” because they are of great importance for the production of important goods, especially in the high-technology sector. At 39 of these raw materials Germany dependent on imports.

“Especially for supply chains that are hardly diversified, there is an increased supply risk,” the authors of the study state. The debate has gained momentum as Western governments scrutinize dependence on China. The EY study, like a study by the German Economic Institute (IW), comes to the conclusion that the dependency on China, for example for rare earths or lithium, which is important for battery technology, is particularly high.

The federal government has been working for months on a new raw materials strategy that is intended to use various measures to try to reduce dependency. Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized last week that this must also include the use of domestic raw material deposits.

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Other instruments include a state financing fund suggested by Germany and France at EU level for the development of new raw material deposits in Europe. The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics, Franziska Brantner, had already called for the reactivation of bilateral raw material partnerships in an interview with Reuters in October.

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