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International automakers take steps to secure access to critical minerals

While not making a big splash in the media, a piece of news from Germany once more underscores the relevance of critical minerals and associated supply issues.

As the newly launched German Resource Alliance (Rohstoffallianz) has announced, automakers BMW and VW are officially becoming shareholders of the alliance. Founded in 2012, the Resource Alliance is a “globally active profit-oriented raw materials corporation” which has the backing of the German government, and brings together “companies in Germany with high-level industrial value creation, which have their own need for raw materials.”

BMW and VW are joining ten other companies, among them Copper producer Arubis, chemical companies BASF, Bayer, Evonik and Wacker Chemie, as well as Bosch, Georgsmarienhuette Holding, Rockwood Lithium, Stahl Holding Saar, and ThyssemKrupp.

Primary targeted areas of action for the alliance are: providing a communications platform, developing strategies for securing the raw material supply, lobbying and exchange of information, sharing mining know-how and market expertise, project financing and insurance, as well as project management.

Automakers require significant amounts of critical minerals such as Rare Earths Elements and Copper for vehicle manufacturing. Copper, in particular, is significant as a stand-alone metal and as a “Gateway Metal” that unlocks other “Tech Metals” such as Molybdenum and Selenium.