Energy minister wants to put Belgium on the map for recycling rare earths
Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten wants to put Belgium on the map for the recycling of rare earths, the elements needed to manufacture many technological devices.
Van der Straeten of Flemish green party Groen is in Paris for the first world summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on rare earths, where she intends to highlight the expertise of Belgian companies. “Belgium has the potential to become a world leader in the recycling of rare earths,” she said, singling out Umicore and Comet.
Rare earth elements such as cobalt and lithium can be found in many parts of the world, but are difficult to mine. They are becoming increasingly scarce as they are needed to produce electric cars, solar panels, computers and smartphones, among other things.
The IEA summit brings together representatives of the world’s largest economies and companies active in the sector. “Together, we can encourage a sustainable, circular economy in Europe where precious rare earths can be reused time and time again,” Van der Straeten said. “We can keep prices stable and guarantee the transition to renewable energies on all continents.”
Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE