16 June 2005 16:47 [Source: ICIS news]
JOHANNESBURG (CNI)--South Africa’s Chamber of Mines, the continent’s largest mining association, warned Thursday that the European Union’s proposed registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (Reach) policy could cost southern African mineral exporters $2.5bn (Euro2.1bn) annually in lost revenue.
Implementation of Reach will require the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals, including metals, in the EU market, a potentially costly and complex barrier to some African minerals if it were to be applied to exports to the EU, said the Chamber.
Since most mineral ores and concentrates contain trace quantities of substances that the EU would classify as hazardous and because most ores and concentrates are imported into the EU in large quantities, these ores and concentrates would be subject to Reach, the Chamber said.
"Given the natural occurrence of trace amounts of naturally occurring hazardous substances in these ores and concentrates – it is likely that they will be subject to authorisation – the most onerous process of Reach," the Chamber said in a document released on Wednesday. The Chamber represents some of the world’s largest gold, platinum and alloy producers, including Anglo American.
Over half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s mineral exports, estimated at $12bn annually, are to the EU and most minerals, with the exception of those from ?xml:namespace>
The Chamber doubted the workability of the Reach policy given the complex composition and large volumes associated with mineral ores and concentrates and the fact that the risks associated with these materials were already covered by existing legislation.
The Chamber also questioned the fairness of the Reach policy "that, without any scientific basis, excludes the primary materials from the organic sector from certain requirements whilst including the primary materials from the inorganic sector."
A prominent representative of the largest political group in the European Parliament last month has proposed that certain metals and all alloys should be exempt from the proposed Reach. The EU has yet to decide in which from Reach may be adopted.
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