Industrial minerals production in Europe : current situation and future trends

Hetherington, Linda; Bloodworth, Andrew. 2008 Industrial minerals production in Europe : current situation and future trends. Industrial Minerals (497). 56-61.

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Europe is a major global producer of industrial minerals, with around 117 million tonnes extracted in the EU in 2007. The industry makes an estimated direct contribution of Euro13 billion to the European GDP (IMA Europe), although the value added by downstream industrial consumers of these commodities is much larger. The EU is a particularly important producer of feldspar, perlite, natural gypsum, salt, bentonite and kaolin. There is, however, a high level of dependence on imports of a number of other commodities, including rare earth compounds, graphite, fluorspar and barytes. Concerns regarding security of supply for certain critical industrial minerals are growing, driven mainly by high levels of economic growth in the BRIC countries. The industrial minerals sector also faces major environmental challenges in the coming decades, including competition for land, the need to improve resource efficiency and the need to reduce its carbon footprint. The European Commission is currently examining the influence of these and other issues on the EU’s long-term, sustainable supply of raw materials. One point of concern is the need for an adequate EU knowledge base on non-energy raw materials in order to monitor and forecast strategic policy and market developments. At present there are areas with little or no reliable data, including, for example, the consumption of mineral commodities (including those used in imported manufactured goods), recycling, and carbon footprint. It is vital that policy is based on sound information in order to avoid subsequent problems and the importance of good quality, consistent and relevant data for measuring and understanding economic and environmental impacts cannot be understated. Although lower prices towards the end of 2008 have eased concerns somewhat, this is a long-term problem that still needs to be addressed now.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2008 > Minerals
ISSN: 0019-8544
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Article published as 'European rock and role'
Additional Keywords: EU, mineral production, supply security, critical minerals
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 13 Feb 2009 15:56 +0 (UTC)

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