Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission
Graphite is one of the key raw materials for battery applications. It has been classified as a critical raw material in the review of the critical raw materials list, which revealed a 98% EU import reliance, with 47% coming from China.
As a follow up to the Critical Raw Materials action plan, the Commission has identified mining and processing projects for critical raw materials in the EU that can be operational by 2025.
The Commission’s assessment, carried out with Member States, has identified 15 viable and potential projects of natural graphite in Sweden, Spain, Slovakia, Germany and Finland. Three are at an advanced stage of development and one is in operation.
These projects have the potential to strengthen local supply chains, increase EU resilience and decrease the environmental impact of EU battery value chains.
Issuing permits, for example for geological exploration, mining operations or concessions, is a competence of the Member States. Relevant local, regional and national authorities analyse the application and its compliance with national and EU legislation. The Commission has no formal role in this process.
Finally, the development of production is only one of the actions identified in the Critical Raw Materials action plan. Security of supply also relies on diversifying and strengthening supply chains with like-minded international partners and improving the collection and recycling of waste batteries in the EU to increase use of graphite from secondary sources.