SecREEts Final Conference
The second SecREEts Final Conference took place in Brussels on 15th November 2022.
SecREEts final conference was organised on 15th November in the morning as a satellite event of the European Raw Materials week. The event was organised in a hybrid format and took place at the NH Collection Brussels Centre with possibility of joining online via ZOOM.
During the first part of the conference representatives from project partners presented achievement of objectives of the project and shared lessons learnt. In the second part, SecREEts invited other European projects focusing on REEs to discuss the place of a European rare earth value chain and associated challenges. While the first part was organised in a form of successive presentations of work of the project partners in their respective work packages, the second part was organised in the form of a panel discussion where the panellists engaged in brief presentations of their current work and engaged in the discussion with the audience in the room as well as on-line.
The presentations of the project development and results by work packages showed the attainment of the project objective. The European value chain in REE is demonstrated, as underlined by the project leader, Dr. Arne Petter Ratvik. This value chain and its output cannot provide for the needs of the industry, however the technological knowledge and know-how are now developed and can be used. The presentations of individual work packages showed the challenges in the life cycle of the project and how these were successfully overcome: every workpackage without exception found itself facing a problem that needed an innovative solution to deal with the problem identified.
The presentations and the ensuing discussion in the Q&A session showed vivid interest and active involvement of participants, who contributed their vision of certain specific aspects of the REE value chain or are related to it (mostly in the area of magnets). Amongst the challenges mentioned in the discussion was the existence of technical barriers, mainly related to the difficulties in identifying and sorting EoL products containing REE, impeding correct processing and recycling operations. A further interesting point was the consensus among the speakers regarding the need of a unified approach and standardization and the importance of diversification as well as for design for recycling.
The conference ended on a very positive note as the project objectives of SecREEts are achieved, acknowledging at the same time the importance of events such as the SecREEts final conference, which bring experts together allowing discussion on needs and actions to be taken.