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Tracking environmental impacts in global product chains

Rare Earth Metals and other critical metals used in the cleantech industry

image of Tracking environmental impacts in global product chains

Tracking environmental impacts in global product chains – Rare Earth Metals and other critical metals used in the cleantech industry Metals form a central part of the global economy, but their extraction and supply are linked to several environmental and social concerns. This study aims to create a picture of the supply chain of Rare Earth Metals (REMs) and other critical metals used in the clean technology (cleantech) sectors of electric vehicles and solar panels. The study examines how Nordic cleantech companies are aware and acting on the challenges related to the lifecycle of these metals and what are the potentials to minimise environmental and social impacts. Recommendations of the study can be summarised as three initiatives: establishment of an awareness platform and roundtable initiative (short-term), research and information gathering (mid-term), and development of closed-loop solutions (long-term).

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Most commonly used metals in electric vehicles

Cerium (Ce) is used largely as a catalyst and is the most abundant rare earth metal in the earth’s crust. Cerium is used in NiMH batteries of electric vehicles. Cerium is found in a number of minerals, mainly allanite, bastnäsite and monazite. Bastnäsite deposits are largely in China and the United States. Monazite deposits are located in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States.

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