In November 2023, the International Raw Materials Observatory hosted an Expert roundtable on enhancing EU-Africa cooperation regarding raw materials supply, within the framework of the new EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA).

The roundtable, which was held under Chatham House Rules, delved into critical aspects of responsible sourcing, addressing topics that included the roles of investors and industry, the challenges encountered, and solutions that integrate modern technology with crime-fighting methods.

Participants recognised the subjectivity inherent in defining responsible sourcing, with the certification process often serving merely as a symbolic badge. Additionally, a significant obstacle arises when attempting to implement responsible sourcing policies in African countries, primarily due to weak institutional structures that foster corruption and low standards for the rule of law in many countries.

Nonetheless, a unanimous consensus emerged among participants: responsible sourcing stands as the cornerstone for achieving equitable and sustainable resourcing of CRM, thereby driving Europe’s transition to green energy. The imperative is clear — establishing transparent, traceable, and ethics-based practices across mineral value chains, spanning from exploration to the production of intermediate and final products such as smartphones, wind turbines and electric vehicles.

For further details about the findings, we invite you to consult the summary from the roundtable:

The Expert roundtable served as a follow-up to the Responsible Sourcing and Traceability of Critical Raw Materials (CRM) workshop, organised as a satellite event during the EU Raw Materials Week 2023 on 14 November. This workshop was jointly organised by the International Raw Materials Observatory, the Initiative on Forensic Geology at the International Union of Geological Sciences, and the European Federation of Geologists. It convened a select group of invited experts to deliberate on strategies for strengthening EU-Africa cooperation in the context of the European CRMA.