Astana, June 2 (EFE).- The European Union (EU) is looking to strengthen its strategic partnership with Kazakhstan in the production of rare metals, following the disruption of supply chains with Russia due to sanctions, the Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations, Maros Sefcovic, announced in Astana on Friday.
“The importance of the strategic partnership between the EU and Kazakhstan in the field of rare metals is now at the forefront,” Sefcovic said during his address at an event dedicated to the steel industry in the Kazakh capital.
Sefcovic noted that the world has faced “a series of challenges” over the past few years, citing the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which “led to the disruption of traditional logistics chains for hydrocarbons and other raw materials.”
“All of this has forced EU countries to revise their priorities and move away from energy dependence or other dependencies on third countries,” added the European representative.
Sefcovic recalled that Brussels and Astana signed a memorandum of strategic cooperation last year regarding hydrocarbons, battery manufacturing, and the development of green hydrogen supply chains.
“We have a shared goal with Kazakhstan: to achieve carbon neutrality. And we can achieve it by combining our efforts,” he stated.
He argued that the EU requires rare metals to increase eco-friendly production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Metals like lithium, cobalt, copper, and tungsten are used in the production of important components in the aerospace industry, and for parts in electric cars, the demand for which is actively growing every year,” he explained.
According to Sefcovic, lithium demand is expected to increase 12-fold by 2030 and 20-fold by 2050.
However, at present, the EU is unable to meet its internal demand for 20 of the main rare metals based on its own production, despite its decision to increase the extraction of these raw materials by 10% by 2029, he said.
Meanwhile, Marat Karabayev, the Minister of Industry and Infrastructure of Kazakhstan assured that his country has much to offer European investors.
“Two years ago, Kazakhstan was producing 25,000 tons of aluminum and this year, production more than doubled to 57,000 tons. This is a commodity that is exported to Europe,” he said.
He also referred to copper production, which is expected to double in the coming years to reach an annual level of one million tons.
Karabayev added that in October, Kazakhstan will auction 25 significant deposits. EFE