Published: Wed, 20 September 2023
Seán Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, has welcomed the inclusion of aluminium as a new “strategic raw material” in the EU, following a European Parliament vote this week to advance the Critical Raw Materials Act, as “crucial” for Ireland. The legislation aims to reduce the EU’s reliance on external sources, particularly China and other countries, for essential metals.
“Considering the importance of the metal to key industries, the Commission’s exclusion of aluminium from the EU’s list of strategic raw materials did not make much sense. My colleagues in EPP and I tabled several amendments to reinsert aluminium, which thankfully won a large majority backing this week – securing aluminium’s status as a strategic raw material,” said Kelly.
“For Ireland, this development holds particular importance. The Shannon Estuary is home to Europe’s largest alumina refinery, with an annual capacity exceeding 1.9 million tonnes of alumina. This alumina is shipped to France and Sweden, where it is smelted to produce aluminium, highlighting the vital role of aluminium in the European industrial landscape”, he said.
Strategic Raw Materials are vital for key industries of the future and that are essential to our Net-Zero ambitions. This includes solar panels, electric batteries, heat pumps and wind turbines.
“Aluminium demand in Europe set to surge, instead of having strategic dependencies on third countries, it’s very important to secure a sustainable domestic supply”, said Kelly.
The Parliament’s plenary vote this week paves the way for final negotiations with EU member states and the European Commission.