As our modern economies grow, so does the demand for the raw materials needed to develop technologies for various sectors, including for energy production, transport, strategic industrial sectors and defence.
In many cases, raw materials are fundamental for sustainable development. For example, they are necessary for the transition to a low-carbon economy, which is at the heart of the European Green Deal foreseen in the political guidelines of for the next European Commission. Moreover, raw materials are required for facilitating a digital economy, and for the defence sector.
The demand for raw materials for such technologies can bring increased autonomy and positive opportunities for communities, including the creation of jobs. However, if not properly managed, it can also result in negative impacts, such as on the environment, increased pollution, conflicts or use of child labour.