The EU is highly dependent on raw materials that are crucial for a strong European industrial base, an essential building block of the EU's growth and competitiveness. However, Europe is confronted with a number of challenges along the entire raw materials value chain, from sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and after mining activities to secure a sustainable access to non-energy non-agricultural raw materials used for industrial purposes, including Critical Raw Materials.

In order to tap the full potential of primary and secondary raw materials and to boost the innovation capacity of the EU raw materials sector a number of challenges along the entire raw materials value chain will be addressed in the Raw materials part of the Societal Challenge 5: "Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials".

Primary raw material is a natural inorganic or organic substance, such as metallic ores, industrial minerals, construction materials or energy fuels, used for the first time. This may include previously unexploited raw materials from formerly abandoned mines.

Secondary raw material is waste materials that have been identified for their potential for recycling or reprocessing to generate raw materials (potentially displacing the use of primary materials), for example: mining wastes, manufacturing and processing waste, including scrap, and contents of landfill. For the purposes of this work, only the long-lived, accumulated and hence permanently geo-located sources have been considered, namely mining and landfill wastes.

This priority predominantly focuses on non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials used in industry (metallic minerals, industrial minerals, construction materials, wood and natural rubber).