IRMA and the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA)

A new EU law encourages companies along the raw materials value chain to develop projects that meet a newly created Strategic Project designation. IRMA assessments can help support the applications of mining and processing projects.

EU flagWhat is the EU Critical Raw Materials Act?

In May 2024, the EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) entered into force. The aim of this regulation is to strengthen production, processing, and recycling of so-called strategic raw materials in Europe to directly reduce reliance on external suppliers for raw materials.

To meet these objectives, the law sets benchmarks for strategic raw materials for 2030:

  • 10% of the EU’s annual consumption for extraction to be sourced domestically.
  • 40% of the EU’s annual consumption for processing to occur within the EU.
  • 25% of the EU’s annual consumption to come from recycling.

Further to this, the regulation mandates that no more than 65% of any strategic raw material should be sourced from a single third country.

For further information, please visit the official website of the EU Commission and the related FAQ page.

What are Strategic Projects?

To achieve the above-mentioned benchmarks, the CRMA sets out to select and implement “Strategic Projects”. These projects are aimed at strengthening raw materials production capacities along the value chain, both inside and outside the EU, and can benefit from streamlined permitting and from enabling conditions for access to finance.

For more information on Strategic Projects, and how to apply, please visit the official EU Commission page on the topic.

What is the link between Strategic Projects and IRMA?

As set out in the CRMA, project promoters will have to comply with relevant national and international law, and additionally may use so-called “certification schemes” to support their application specifically against certain ESG criteria. These criteria span from monitoring, prevention and minimisation of environmental impacts, to the prevention and minimisation of socially adverse impacts including respect for human rights, Indigenous Peoples and labor rights, and the use of transparent business practices.

For schemes to be considered however, they must meet criteria laid out in the regulation as listed under Annex IV. These are “fitness criteria” for certification schemes, addressing both governance and content.

Form for supporting CRMA applicationHow can project promoters use IRMA in their application?

The current version of the strategic project application form (Section 8) asks for project promoters to disclose if they adhere to an international certification scheme.

IRMA invites project promoters to download and complete this form and to submit it as supporting evidence in their application.

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