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How companies improve critical raw material circularity: 5 use cases


  • Alessandra Hool

    (ESM Foundation)

  • Dieuwertje Schrijvers


  • Sander van Nielen

    (Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University)

  • Andrew Clifton

    (Rolls-Royce plc)

  • Sophia Ganzeboom

    (ESM Foundation)

  • Christian Hagelueken

    (Umicore AG & Co KG)

  • Yasushi Harada


  • Hendy Kim

    (143-12 Gunsansandan-ro)

  • Anthony Ku

    (NICE America Research)

  • Juliane Meese-Marktscheffel

    (H.C. Starck Tungsten GmbH)

  • Takeshi Nemoto



This report showcases five examples of industries applying circular strategies for CRMs: (1) recycling of tungsten carbide scrap by H.C. Starck Tungsten, (2) recycling of battery cathode materials by SungEel Hitech, (3) recovery of rare earth elements from hard disk drives by Hitachi Group, (4) closed rhenium loops by Rolls-Royce, and (5) recovery of platinum group metals by Umicore. The adaptation of business models appears to be one of the biggest enablers of raw material circularity. Ideally, all involved stakeholders (including the manufacturers, the users, and the recyclers) have a common interest in, and are incentivized by retaining the material’s value, which stimulates transparent material flows and close cooperation. This is enabled by retained ownership and with long-term, well-defined relationships between the value chain actors. Such relationships can be enhanced by vertical integration, or by long-term contractual agreements. The benefits of implementing circularity provide a mandate for governmental intervention in stimulating circularity strategies, for example via regulations and subsidies, to overcome initial investment thresholds.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandra Hool & Dieuwertje Schrijvers & Sander van Nielen & Andrew Clifton & Sophia Ganzeboom & Christian Hagelueken & Yasushi Harada & Hendy Kim & Anthony Ku & Juliane Meese-Marktscheffel & Takeshi, 2022. "How companies improve critical raw material circularity: 5 use cases," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 35(2), pages 325-335, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:35:y:2022:i:2:d:10.1007_s13563-022-00315-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-022-00315-5

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