European Union’s Critical Raw Materials - The Role of Primary Raw Materials and the Importance of a Sustainable Use

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


Due to the relevance of primary raw materials in daily life, the extraction of primary raw materials is of great importance, as well as its social acceptance. In recent decades, raw materials have been used neither sustainably nor responsibly, resulting in various lists of critical raw materials for certain regions, countries or even continents. Aim of this master’s thesis is to illustrate the changes in the raw material situation and the growing lists of critical raw materials for the European Union caused by these changes. Furthermore, this thesis discusses the sustainable and responsible use of raw materials, including models such as sustainable development goals and circular economy. By dividing the topic into five main it should be possible to obtain a good overview. In the first main chapter, the definition of critical raw materials is presented in general terms, but the focus is on the background of critical raw materials for the European Union: the assessment of criticality and the lists established. Next, the statistics of mineral raw materials extraction, reserves and resources is described. Apart from the global raw materials production, a comparison is also made between the production data of the individual continents. Both the production statistics of the five groups of raw materials and those of the individual raw materials are taken into account. The sustainable use of raw materials will be addressed in chapter four. In addition to the model of weak and strong sustainability, the presentation of sustainable development goals are also part of this chapter. Moreover, the circular economy and the recycling of raw materials are significant points. In Chapter five, the concept of critical raw materials will be discussed from different perspectives. This chapter focuses on the criticality of raw materials in terms of the environment and the human factor.


Translated title of the contributionKritische Rohstoffe der Europäischen Union - Die Rolle von Primärrohstoffen und die Bedeutung einer nachhaltigen Nutzung
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date18 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020