As part of the UNECE Resource Management Week 2018, this Symposium on the availability of raw materials from secondary sources was co-hosted by ESM Foundation as a follow-up to the workshop on Strategic Raw Materials and Sustainable Development at WRF 2017.
Securing the future supply of energy and minerals is fundamental for both regional and global economic development and prosperity. In contrast to the traditional mining sector, the stakeholders in the urban mining, recycling and recovery sector lack reliable information on the material quantities expected to be available in the near future. To overcome the barriers, reliable and transparent estimates on the availability of secondary raw materials are needed. Therefore, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – Expert Group on Resource Classification (EGRC) and the pan-European Expert Network “Mining the European Anthroposphere” (COST Action MINEA) are developing a new standard for classifying raw materials from secondary sources, such as mine tailings, buildings, infrastructure, consumer goods, and all sources from the material life cycle stages, including production, use and end-of-life.
In this context, the symposium reflected on the future availability of secondary raw materials and the need for a unifying global standard – the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) – to manage anthropogenic resources in a circular economy, with special reference to valorizing wastes for the recovery of Critical Raw Materials.