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From Linear – to Circular Value Chains

Recovering and Valorizing Heavy Metals and Critical Raw Materials

The global economy is experiencing a significant shift towards sustainability, with an increasing focus on reducing waste and conserving resources. Transforming linear value chains into #circular ones is a vital step in achieving these goals, particularly in the raw materials sector.

As the #EU embarks on its ambitious Clean Energy Transition, the strategic importance of critical raw materials (CRMs) cannot be overstated.

The ability to recycle and valorize heavy metals and CRMs is essential to safeguarding the region’s resources and fostering long-term economic resilience.

Current Challenges

The linear value chain model, characterized by a “take-make-dispose” approach, has led to the inefficient use of resources, environmental degradation, and an increased risk of supply chain disruptions. Industries such as electroplating, mining, hydrometallurgy, electronics manufacturing, and battery production all rely on dissolved metals in their processes, generating significant volumes of industrial waste and leading to the potential leakage of valuable resources.

The EU has identified several CRMs, including rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt, as essential for the #Clean #Energy #Transition. These materials are vital for technologies such as electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, and energy storage solutions.

However, the current technological offerings are often insufficient to ensure the efficient recycling and valorization of these resources. As a result, there is an urgent need to transform the value chains in the raw materials sector to address these challenges.

The Strategic Importance of Circular Value Chains

Circular value chains enable the continuous flow of materials and resources in a closed-loop system, minimizing waste and maximizing resource efficiency. By transforming linear value chains into circular ones, industries can reduce their environmental #impact, mitigate the risks associated with resource scarcity, and improve their overall competitiveness.

For the EU, circular value chains can provide a #strategic advantage in the global race for clean energy dominance. By ensuring that valuable CRMs are kept within the region and efficiently utilized, the EU can reduce its dependency on external suppliers, strengthen its resilience to supply chain disruptions, and position itself as a leader in #sustainable technologies.

The Need for Transformation

Transforming value chains in the raw materials sector requires a systemic approach, encompassing technological #innovation, supportive regulatory frameworks, and collaborative efforts among stakeholders.

In industries where dissolved metals are used, such as electroplating, mining, hydrometallurgy, electronics manufacturing, and battery production, there is a pressing need for innovative technologies that enable the efficient recycling and valorization of heavy metals and CRMs.

In a series of articles, we will outline how Circular Materials s.r.l. technology and processes can address the current challenges faced by the raw materials sector.

The transformation of linear value chains into circular ones is critical for achieving the EU’s sustainability goals, securing its supply of CRMs, and maintaining its competitive edge in the Clean Energy #Transition. By investing in innovative technologies and embracing circular value chains, businesses in the raw materials sector can overcome current challenges and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient economy.

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Several partners have already chosen our technology.

As a company, we at Circular Materials are committed to making a fundamental contribution to the European Green Deal, and we have as our goals:

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