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Europe restarts magnesium mining after more than 10 years

According to the British media, this decision “reduces dependence on China." The mine's annual production is expected to reach 90,000 tonnes, accounting for half of EU countries' supply and accounting for 9% of global production.

According to an article published by the British Financial Times on April 16, Romania, a member state of the European Union, recently granted mining rights to an abandoned magnesium mine in the country, with investors expected to invest $1 billion in it by three years.

It is the first time in more than 10 years that Europe has restarted magnesium mining, with the aim of reducing its dependence on imports of key raw materials from China.

A brucite deposit in western Romania. Image source: Verde Magnesium

Notably, Romania granted on Friday (12) Verde Magnesium, based in the capital Bucharest, a mining concession for an abandoned magnesium mine in the city of Oradea, in the north-west of the country. With the intervention of US private equity investor Amerocap, Verde will spend $1 billion to build magnesium processing plants that use renewable energy, while also being able to recycle aluminum in the transformation process.

According to reports, this mine was the last still operational magnesium mine in Europe, closed in 2014. Verde plans to restart production at the end of 2027. Annual production is expected to reach 90,000 tonnes, accounting for half of the countries' supply of the EU and 9% of global production.

Magnesium is a key material in the production of automobile and aircraft parts. As Europe and the United States accelerate their transition to energy and a green economy, demand for key minerals, including magnesium, tends to increase.

Which makes European and American countries feel dependent on China, the main supplier of this mineral. According to European Commission President von der Leyen, 93% of the EU's magnesium must be imported from China.

In this context, in March this year the European Union officially approved the “Critical Raw Materials Act” to strengthen its autonomy in the supply of 34 “critical raw materials” in sectors such as technology and new energies and reduce the own dependence on “specific countries”. ." The bill establishes that by 2030, 10% of the EU's annual consumption of raw materials should come from domestic mining, 40% should be processed in the EU and 25% should come from recycling. For 17 of the "strategic raw materials" (including metallic magnesium), the law provides that the supply from a single third country cannot exceed 65%.

Bernd Martens, president of Verde Magnesium and former director of Audi, told the Financial Times that mines and factories in Romania will help Brussels achieve independence for its key metals. “The European industrial sector urgently needs reliable supplies of critical and strategic metals, in particular imported metals with a lower carbon footprint that can support Europe's transition to a zero-carbon economy.”

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