Importance of lead metallurgy | SOCRATES Press Release



The EU ETN SOCRATES project team has launched a press release about its recent Policy Brief entitled “Lead Metallurgy is Fundamental to the Circular Economy”. The key message by the authors of the Policy Brief is that the EU’s circular economy plans risk stalling if regulators pursue ill-judged restrictions. (PTJ, Leuven, 28/3/2019)

EU ETN SOCRATES Press Release [PDF-version available here]

A group of senior EU scientists has expressed alarm over plans to restrict the use of important metals, such as lead, saying the plans will severely hamper the bloc’s ability to achieve its circular economy goals. The group aims to push for more proportionate regulations affecting metals used in batteries and recycling processes. The move comes as European chemicals regulators contemplate in-effect bans on metals such as lead (Pb). This metal is, however, used by companies such as Umicore and Metallo as a carrier metal, which ‘unlocks’ these companies’ ability to recover and recycle everything from silver to cadmium. To highlight this paradox and to provide a firm metallurgical background on the importance of lead, researchers from the EU Horizon 2020 MSCA-ETN SOCRATES project have just published a new Policy Brief, authored by Prof. Bart Blanpain (KU Leuven, Belgium), Prof. Markus Reuter (TU BAF, Germany) and Dr. Annelies Malfliet (KU Leuven, Belgium). The Policy Brief is oriented at the incoming European Parliament and Commission, warning them of the consequences of ill-judged regulatory decision making. The authors argue that restricting lead metallurgy in the EU would not only have a detrimental impact on the lead industry, but also on all the industries linked to it that work with elements like silver, copper, antimony, tin, tellurium and zinc. As such, the EU’s plans for energy storage, smart cities and clean technologies might be jeopardised. The Brief outlines 5 key Lessons Learned.

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