BEIS aims to boost critical mineral recycling

The government has pledged to look at regulatory ways to promote recycling of critical minerals to secure the UK’s supply chains against “geopolitical events and logistical disruptions”.

The development will aim to address the increasing difficulty of multi-component items such as mobile phones (picture: Shutterstock)

The commitment from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was made in its Critical Minerals Strategy to maximise the critical materials value chain last week (22 July).

The document explained that as technology evolves, the UK’s reliance on critical minerals grows. These are used to make electronics, batteries for electric cars, wind turbines, medical devices and more.

Consequently, BEIS seeks to boost domestic capability and promote recycling to mitigate the environmental impact of mining, help facilitate the net zero transition and increase national security.

Regulation

BEIS said that regulatory interventions to promote recycling are to be explored via the planned Defra consultation on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations later this year, as well as future consultation on end-of-life batteries, including the extended producer responsibility (EPR) framework.

It added that “to under pin the long-term nature of the strategy, the UK will evaluate the criticality of minerals on an annual basis,” with the function to be undertaken by the newly formed Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre led by the British Geological Survey.

The department has also pledged to “signpost the most relevant funding support mechanisms to ensure they are easily identified, deployed effectively and can be accessed by the critical minerals sector”.

Timeline

BEIS is to act as the policy lead on critical minerals, with the Cabinet Office co-ordinating cross-government engagement.

The department said that it will publish a delivery plan for the commitments in the strategy later in the year.

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